Jack Thomas named 11th president of Western Illinois University
Western Illinois University
January 20, 2011
Dr. Jack Thomas, provost and academic vice president at Western Illinois
University, has been named the University's 11th president, effective
"We would like to express our appreciation to the presidential search
committee for bringing forth an impressive slate of candidates. After
the on-campus interviews and meetings with each candidate, the board
determined that Dr. Thomas was the candidate who would continue moving
Western forward and build upon the excellence and accomplishments we've
been fortunate to experience during the past 10 years," said Michael
Houston, chair of the WIU Board of Trustees.
"We are so pleased to have Dr. Thomas serve as the 11th president of
this great institution. He is a proven leader and is a dedicated
educator. Dr. Thomas is clearly aware of -- and ready to tackle -- the
issues facing higher education," Houston added. "He has great enthusiasm
and the motivation to continue Western's reputation for excellence."
The board set Thomas' annual salary at $250,000, plus $25,000 in a
retirement annuity. He will succeed Al Goldfarb, who will retire June 30
after nearly 10 years as WIU's 10th president.
"This is a very humbling experience, and I am honored to be chosen as
the 11th president of Western Illinois University. I am so thankful and
blessed," Thomas said. "I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for
their confidence in me, the presidential search committee for their
diligence and President Goldfarb, my fellow vice presidents and the
University community for their support.
"I came to Western because I believed in its mission and vision. I
believed in this institution's values and its commitment to students. If
it had not been for public universities like Western, I would not be
where I am today," he added. "I know I have big shoes to fill. Dr.
Goldfarb has done an excellent job in making sure Western is at the
forefront, and I plan to continue to enhance the recognition of our
Thomas has served as provost and academic vice president at Western
since January 2008. Under his leadership, WIU has established new
academic programs in engineering, nursing, anthropology, museum studies
and religious studies. He also enhanced the academic program review
process; rebuilt and revitalized Western's summer school program,
including offering more courses, both on campus and online; supported
new accreditation or re-accreditation for 15 academic programs; expanded
articulation agreements with Illinois and Iowa community colleges and
select four-year institutions; and increased online course offerings.
Under his direction, the University has increased external grant funding
and has developed underrepresented dissertation fellowship, visiting
professorship and post-doctoral fellowship programs. Thomas has served
as a recruitment representative at the Compact for Faculty Diversity's
Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the nation's largest annual
conference for minority Ph.D. students and recent graduates; implemented
the University's Professional Achievement Award; worked with University
Technology to upgrade electronic classrooms; and created the Provost's