- Category: Education Trends
- Created on 12 January 2018
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The Morehouse College Board of Trustees voted Sunday, October 15, 2017 to name Dr. David A. Thomas as the 12th President of Morehouse College, ushering in a new era of leadership for the 150-year-old historically black institution.
Dr. Thomas is the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the former Dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Thomas’ appointment ends a six-month period of leadership transition at the College that began in April when the Board announced its national search for a new Morehouse President. The Presidential Search Committee, assisted by Issacson Miller recruiters, reviewed the profiles of more than 100 executives for the role, including several sitting college presidents. Thomas was chosen as the top candidate because of his visionary leadership as a business school administrator and his proven track record in fundraising, which includes a capital campaign that raised more than $130 million in five years for Georgetown McDonough.
“Dr. Thomas is a nationally respected business educator and visionary leader with a support network that will bring transformative change to Morehouse College,” said Willie Woods ’85, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Having David at Morehouse will raise the profile of our world-class institution and lead to partnerships that will allow Morehouse to be more competitive for top students, expand our academic programs, improve our facilities, and provide more signature opportunities for leadership that make Morehouse Men among the most sought-after graduates in the country.”
Thomas has 30 years of higher education experience. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior Studies and a Master of Philosophy in Organizational Behavior degree, both from Yale University. He also has a Master of Organizational Psychology degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Administrative Sciences degree from Yale College. Thomas assumes office on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, leaving Morehouse under the experienced guidance of Interim President Harold Martin Jr. ’02 until the end of the calendar year.
'I am humbled and honored to be appointed as the next President of Morehouse College,” said Thomas. “What draws me to Morehouse is that I see a connection between what I value and what this college has always represented —the mission to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service, and to be stewards of black culture and community. There is no place like Morehouse on the planet.”
Morehouse is the world’s only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) for men. It has produced four Rhodes Scholars, several college presidents, and leaders in many other fields. According to the National Science Foundation, Morehouse is the nation’s top producer of black males who continue their education and receive doctorates. The National Science Foundation also ranked Morehouse as the No. 1 producer of black men who receive doctorates in education, life and physical sciences, math and computer sciences, psychology and social sciences, as well as humanities and the arts. Morehouse currently has more than 17,000 alumni representing more than 40 states and 14 countries. U.S. News & World Report also consistently ranks Morehouse as one of the nation’s top five HBCUs.
First Non-Alumnus To Be President In 50 Years Thomas will be the first Morehouse President in 50 years who did not graduate from the College. The last President who was not an alumnus was Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, Morehouse’s revered sixth President who mentored Martin Luther King Jr.
“I think the entire Morehouse family will be very excited about the appointment of President-Elect Thomas,” said Dr. Robert M. Franklin, President-Emeritus. “David is deeply committed to educating African American men and to innovative approaches to higher education. He has spent his entire career from Yale to Harvard Business School to Georgetown University preparing for this opportunity. He appreciates the signal honor of being selected as the first non-alumnus Morehouse president since Dr. Benjamin Mays, and we stand ready to support and serve with him.”
Presidential Search Committee Chair Dale Jones noted that Thomas has the endorsement of scores of alumni, faculty, staff, and student representatives who met with him during the interview process. “We were searching for the right leader to set the stage for another 150 years of success at Morehouse,” said Jones ’82. “We vetted many candidates, including outstanding women. What we found in Dr. Thomas was a commitment to excellence and invaluable experience. He’s an exceptional leader and the right individual to lead Morehouse into the future.”
Thomas said he is looking forward to working with the Morehouse community and its many supporters, and is appreciative of the positive feedback he has received about his presidency. “Morehouse was actually where I wanted to go to college from the time I was 10. I got into Morehouse, but I didn’t receive any financial aid. My second-choice school did offer a scholarship, so I enrolled there, but always with a yearning to be at Morehouse,” he said. “As the son of working-class parents who did not attend college, I understand the transformative power of higher education for people of color. I also understand what it means to be a black male in America, and the determination and strength of character that it takes to be successful. I will work tirelessly to help raise the scholarship funds necessary so that no deserving student who wants a Morehouse education is left behind.”▄