Host Ed Sutkowski talks with the President of Western Illinois University (as of 7/1/2011), Dr. Jack Thomas.
It was a tearful conversation eight-year-old Jack Thomas had with his mother that set him on the path to success. Having been forced by her parents to leave school in the eleventh grade, Thomas’s mother said she wanted more for him. Though he originally set out to be a high school English teacher, Dr. Thomas ultimately received a Ph.D. in English and became an English professor.
Dr. Thomas describes the segue from academic to administrative work as an evolution resulting from the encouragement he received from college administrators. After working in administration at Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Dr. Thomas and his family came to Western Illinois University where he served as provost and academic vice president beginning in January 2008.
In January 2010 Dr. Thomas was named the eleventh president of Western Illinois University, where he oversees a $220 million budget. In 2010, the Princeton Review rated Western Illinois University as among the colleges offering the best economic value. Dr. Thomas feels that the unique academic programs offered by WIU put its alumni on equal footing with the alumni of any other university. Dr. Thomas believes that WIU offers students a quality and well-rounded education, with a balance of social and academic experiences.