Above / Dr. Anita Thomas was installed as 11th President of North Central College at the Wentz Concert Hall in the Fine and Performing Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Avenue. (Photo courtesy North Central College.
Dr. Anita Thomas was installed as president of North Central College at an investiture ceremony in the College’s Wentz Concert Hall on November 11, 2023. The ceremony was presided over by North Central College Board Chair Holly Humphrey, MD. Thomas is just the 11th president in the 162-year history of the College and the first woman and first person of color to serve as president.
“I am so grateful to accept the symbols of office and to stand here as your leader,” Thomas said during her inauguration address. “Since its founding, North Central College opened its doors wide to educate both men and women for service, to move for what is right and for the importance of social justice. Given that history, it is fitting and appropriate that the College has selected a woman of color to lead.”
Speaking directly to students, Thomas stated during her address:
“This institution is you, and this institution is for you. I hear your desire to be changemakers, and I know that you are aware of the urgency of your leadership. I’m well aware of the challenges we have asked you to solve. But please, do not lose heart. Our times call for us to help others, just as our times have always called for us to help others. My doors are always open. I want to hear from you and to learn with you. My leadership will only be as strong as when we live our mission together to be a diverse community of learners.”
Dr. Anita Thomas, North Central College President
Dr. Thomas began her official tenure as president of North Central College on July 1, 2023, after a national search led by the College’s Board of Trustees. She is the first woman and the first person of color to lead the College in its 162-year history. A mission-driven leader, researcher, educator, and psychologist, Dr. Thomas previously served as the executive vice president and provost at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Minn. Prior to St. Catherine’s, she was the founding dean of the College of Applied Behavior Sciences at the University of Indianapolis. She also served for 10 years at Loyola University Chicago as a faculty member in the counseling psychology and school counseling department, and as the associate dean for academic affairs and research in Loyola’s School of Education.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Dr. Thomas holds a doctorate degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago, specializing in family therapy and multicultural counseling. She earned her master’s degree in community counseling from Loyola, and her bachelor’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University. Dr. Thomas is a nationally renowned scholar on socialization in African American families; the stereotypical roles of African American women and girls; and the development of critical consciousness and resilience in children, adolescents, and families.
More information about Dr. Thomas is available at northcentralcollege.edu/presidential-search/meet-the- president.
North Central College since 1961
North Central College provides students with the confidence, instruction and direction they need to exceed their personal best inside and outside of the classroom and throughout their careers. Founded in 1861 and located just 28 miles west of Chicago in the Historic District of Naperville, Ill. — named among the nation’s “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine — North Central is home to more than 2,800 students and offers 82 undergraduate majors, 67 additional undergraduate minors and concentrations, and 22 graduate degree and graduate certificate programs. Visit northcentralcollege.edu to discover why U.S. News & World Report has named North Central a “Best in the Midwest” school for 29 years in a row, and to learn more about the College’s state-of-the-art facilities and distinctive programs, particularly in the sciences and business.
Report and photos submitted by Jeremy Borling, Senior Director of Communication, North Central College.