By Debbie Alberico
CSU Public Relations
Central State University President Emeritus Dr. Arthur E. Thomas left an indelible mark on Central State University and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. He dedicated his entire life to championing the cause of the poor, oppressed, and denied.
“I want to express my condolences to the Arthur Thomas family, friends and the greater Central State community. He was an inspirational leader, strong role model, and advocate for post-secondary education. While his death saddens his family and the Central State community, may we take consolation in the knowledge that he is enjoying the full presence of the God,” said Central State University Board of Trustee Chairman Mark Hatcher.
Thomas believed that through education, anything is possible. As a young educator at MacFarlane Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio, in the late 1960s, he was hand-selected by the Model Cities Program to fight racism.
Throughout his life, Thomas remained committed to his Alma Mater, Central State University. He was the Vice President for Academic Affairs before becoming the University’s sixth president from 1985 to 1995. During his tenure, Central State University developed a four-year International Water Resources Management Program, established a four-year fully accredited Manufacturing Engineering Program; re-established the Master’s Degree in Education; strengthened the African Studies Program; developed a model Linguistics Program; and won several National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships. After he retired, he remained active in the Central State community, returning to campus to celebrate with students and give back in any way he could.
Dr. Jack Thomas, current Central State University president said, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Arthur Thomas, sixth president of Central State University and graduate of the class of 1962. For decades, Dr. Thomas has been an inspiration to me during my journey in academia. As a faculty member and administrative leader in higher education, I have been a personal beneficiary of Dr. Arthur Thomas’s leadership and vision, having met him during a Kellogg – National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) fellowship program many years ago. He has left a lasting impact on me and countless students, faculty, administrators, and alumni. Today we mourn the loss of one of higher education’s brightest minds and strongest champions.”
Thomas’s legacy lives on in the students and other individuals who knew him. He inspired the campus with his firm belief that, “There is absolutely, positively nothing on the face of this earth you cannot do if you make up your minds to do it.”