Tuskegee University, the historically Black educational institution in Alabama that was founded by Booker T. Washington, has announced two finalists for the position of president. Since its founding in 1881, the university has had only seven presidents.
More than 150 candidates were considered for the position and the field has now been narrowed to two finalists.
Lilly McNair is provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Wagner College on Staten Island in New York City. Before becoming provost in 2011, Dr. McNair was associate provost for research and a professor of psychology at Spelman College in Atlanta. She has also taught at the State University of New York at New Paltz and the University of Georgia and was a psychologist at the counseling center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Dr. McNair is a graduate of Princeton University in New Jersey. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in psychology from Stony Brook University of the State University of New York System.
Jack Thomas is president of Western Illinois University in Macomb. The university enrolls about 8,500 undergraduate students and slightly less than 2,000 graduate students. African Americans make up 21 percent of the undergraduate student body. Dr. Thomas was named provost at Western Illinois in 2008 and was appointed president in 2011. Earlier, he was senior vice provost for academic affairs at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Thomas is a graduate of Alabama A&M University. He earned a master’s degree in English education at Virginia State University and a Ph.D. in English literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Update: On May 8, Dr. McNair was named the eighth president of Tuskegee University.