David Thomas, a former dean and endowed professor of business at some of the nation’s top non-historically black colleges and universities, was yesterday appointed by the Morehouse College Board of Trustees as the school’s 12th president, and the first non-Morehouse graduate to hold the position in the last 50 years.
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.”
The announcement was formally made by the college this morning, but broken by the Morehouse Maroon Tiger Newspaper in a tweet that appeared last night but was soon deleted.
Former school presidents and prominent alumni praised the appointment.
“David Thomas is an experienced, accomplished and much-admired educator, scholar and administrator,” said President Emeritus Walter Massey. “I congratulate the Trustees and the Search Committee for selecting him to be Morehouse’s 12th President.”
“Dr. Mays was the best President that we ever had. He did not go to Morehouse, yet his influence put Morehouse on the map nationally,” said Morehouse Chairman Emeritus Willie Davis. “When I was Chairman of the Board, I did all that I could do to try to get a candidate who could be another Dr. Mays. This is a great opportunity to have someone with Dr. Thomas’ experience bring his outside view to Morehouse.”
According to a release, Thomas led 250 employees and more than 2,000 students through a period of growth at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, which included the redesign of the MBA curriculum, the launch of the school’s first online degree program, and a $130 million capital campaign. Prior to Georgetown, Thomas served as a professor and administrator at Harvard University—where he returned in 2017—and an assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.