Arthur Thomas, the former president of Central State University, the historically Black educational institution in Wilberforce, Ohio, died on February 9 in a hospital in Silver Springs, Maryland. He was 82 years old.
A native of Philadelphia, Thomas enrolled at Central State University after serving in the U.S. Army. After graduation in 1962, he secured a job as a teacher in the public school system of Dayton, Ohio. There he was a leader in the effort to end racial segregation in the school system.
Dr. Thomas went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a doctorate in education administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
In 1985, Dr. Thomas was appointed president of Central State University. He was the first alumnus of the school to serve as university president. He resigned in 1995 when it was revealed that the school was $5 million in debt.
Later in his career, Dr. Thomas was the senior administrative coordinator of the Ph.D. program in bioenvironmental science in the School of Computer, Mathematical, & Natural Sciences at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He then served as a presidential fellow for the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.