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Dr. Anita Thomas Makes History As The First Black Woman President In North Central College’s 162-Year-History

Dr. Anita Thomas Makes History As The First Black Woman President In North Central College’s 162-Year-History

She’s a champion for racial and social justice!

Dr. Anita Thomas is a native of Louisville, Kentucky who holds a master’s in community counseling and doctorate in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago. She served as a faculty member, graduate program director, and associate dean at her alma mater for a decade, making a name for herself as a national leader on issues of race and social justice. She has also served as the founding dean of the University of Indianapolis’ College of Applied Behavioral Sciences where she was responsible for overseeing academic offerings in mental health counseling, psychology, social work, and art therapy. Now the veteran educator has made history, named the first woman and first Black person to serve as President of North Central College in its 162-year-history, Black Enterprise reports. 

“Having the opportunity to become part of this extraordinary institution is truly a great joy and honor. North Central is preparing our next generation of leaders and - in partnership with faculty, students, staff, the board, alumni, and the Naperville community - I am honored, humbled and ready to lead the College in the next phase of its storied history,” said Dr. Thomas.  



She is renowned across the country for her scholarly work on racial socialization in Black families, stereotypes in roles surrounding Black women and girls and the creation of critical consciousness and resilience pedagogy. Since 2019, she has served as executive vice president and provost at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota where she has served as chief academic officer, developing the institution’s academic plans and launching the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Social Justice. For Thomas, a college campus is a perfect place to foster inclusive communities and her time at St. Catherine’s has been spent doing just that, empowering women to lead justice efforts. 

“A college campus is the best place to address diversity and equity issues, a place to ‘unify diversity.’ As educators and lifelong learners, we have an opportunity to encourage diverse voices and leadership that will enhance the campus and serve as a model for students as they advance beyond college, bringing about more diverse perspectives around the table,” Thomas explained.  

She plans to continue that work now at North Central College, supporting new leaders and change makers and transforming the landscape of the historic institution. Thomas has spent her first couple of days since her appointment as President-elect connecting with faculty and students.

“A mission-driven leader, researcher, educator, and psychologist, Dr. Thomas is a champion of liberal arts and sciences education, particularly as a foundation for inspiring curiosity and civic engagement among students. With more than 25 years in higher education, she will bring deep experience in shaping strategic vision and supporting the development of student’s intellectual growth,” North Central College said via statement. 

Dr. Thomas will serve as the College’s 11th president, and is set to take office on July 1, 2023. 

Congratulations President Thomas! Because of you, we can!

Cover photo: Dr. Anita Thomas makes history as the first Black woman president in North Central College’s 162-year-history/Photo Courtesy of North Central College/Black Enterprise