Central State University’s new president Dr. Jack Thomas recently announced that he donated $50,000 from his salary to create a new scholarship fund amid difficult but necessary changes in the black college’s operating model, i.e. instituting layoffs, furloughs, and other actions as the impact of COVID-19 grows.

Dr. Thomas, who made this particular signature move at the outset of his 15-day of the presidency, is moving forward, though those affected by the changes due to the pandemic won’t have to endure in faith alone.

“Though it was difficult for the University to institute furloughs and wage reductions, these were prudent decisions to ensure that Central State remains on sound financial footing,” he said, adding that “I would not ask others to endure sacrifices that I’m not willing to endure myself. So today I am donating $50,000 from my salary to create a Presidential Scholarship Fund for our students.”

“I will immediately seek a $50,000 matching gift, and continue to leverage that cumulative $100,000 investment to bring other contributors to this fund so that Central State University’s greatest resource – our students – are given every advantage to get the quality Marauder education that only Central State University can provide,” he said, ensuring that his commitment is just the beginning of the Presidential Scholarship fund and for Central State.

Last week, Dr. Thomas gave HBCU Buzz a heads up about an article he penned entitled “Leadership Change in the Midst of a Pandemic” in which he shared his strategic goals for Ohio’s only public Historically Black College and University, or HBCU, during “a dramatic global pandemic that would change the way we live.” One of those goals is University fundraising.

“There is a long tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities leading the fight for equality and social justice,” Dr. Thomas wrote, referring to the debate about racial justice sparked by the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, “while creating safe spaces for its students to explore and express ideas.”

He continued, “As Mahatma Gandhi said: “True education must correspond to the surrounding circumstances or it is not a healthy growth.”

Read more: Incoming Central State President Jack Thomas: ‘I Stand In Solidarity’