The state of Ohio’s only public historically black college, Central State University in Wilberforce, is ready to usher in the start of the new decade as Dr. Jack Thomas takes the helm as the 9th president of the university.

Dr. Thomas, who graduated from historically black Alabama A&M University in Normal with his bachelor’s in English, is the natural successor to Cynthia Jackson-Hammond who finished her tenured today after leading CSU over the course of the last 7 years.

Dr. Thomas also holds a Ph.D. in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s of English Education from HBCU Virginia State University. It’s his track record of success in regards to his vision and leadership skills that brought him to this fine institution:

Dr. Thomas served as the president of Western Illinois University (WIU) for nearly a decade and comes to Central State with a track record that underscores his ability to implement a comprehensive vision and strategy.  

Prior to WIU, Dr. Thomas had a 20-year career where he emerged as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in higher education administration with extensive senior-level management experience from department chair, dean, provost to the presidency.  

Dr. Thomas’ influence on the academic community extends to his service on several local and national boards, and he currently serves on the Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors (CSU press release).

In a video posted on Twitter by the official account of Central State University earlier today, Dr. Thomas ensured the CSU community that he will continue to promote what the black college is universally known for, providing high-quality educational opportunities and a family-oriented on-campus setting.

“Rest assured, I am committed to maintaining the high-quality education and the family environment for which Central State University is known,” he said, adding that he is planning to host a series of dialogues with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community stakeholders and his “goal in the sessions will be to meet many of you, gain valuable insight and share our initial plans.

Following a nationwide executive search for its new leader, chairman of the Central State Board of Trustees Mark Hatcher praised Dr. Thomas, which named him president Feb. 7.

“We are looking forward to working with you and your vision and leadership at this fine institution,” Hatcher said.