WIU President Thomas Appointed to IL Board of Higher Education
April 4, 2016
MACOMB/SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas to the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). According to Gov. Rauner, Thomas will bring a university administrator's perspective to the board.
"I am honored to be appointed, and to serve, as a member at large to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. I look forward to addressing the issues facing higher education in the state of Illinois. As a representative on the board, I will help provide a voice for downstate Illinois and all of higher education, particularly in these challenging economic times," President Thomas said.
Thomas was named the 11th president of Western Illinois University in 2011. Under his leadership, Western moved up in the rankings as a "Best Midwestern College" and as a "Best Regional University" by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report, respectively. Western Illinois University also continues to be named a "Military Friendly School" by GI Jobs Magazine and as a "Best for Vets College" by Military Times EDGE magazine.
In addition to improving WIU's national profile, Thomas has an outstanding commitment to public higher education, as evidenced by his participation, at various points during his career, working effectively with the Board of Regents, the Board of Trustees and other state agencies, and he has been successful in taking the lead and striving to enhance public higher education.
"It is exciting to be a part of the higher education community as we work to prepare students for success in a global society. I welcome the opportunity to work meaningfully with members of the IBHE," Thomas added.
During Thomas' tenure at Western, numerous programs and initiatives have been established and improved, including increased partnerships with international universities and embassies, additional scholarship funding, the Western Commitment Scholarship and the Centennial Honors College Scholarship programs, a mentoring program designed to improve retention and an enhanced honors college.
Thomas is currently a board member of the American Association for Blacks in Higher Education, the Illinois Campus Compact and a Board Member of Stillman College. He previously served as an Executive Board Member on the Council of Fellows for the American Council of Education. In addition, he is a graduate of the Harvard Leadership Program, an American Council on Education Fellow, a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow and he participated in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Alabama A & M University in December 2015. His most recent publication is a book, titled "Within These Gates: Academic Work, Academic Leadership, University Life, and the Presidency."