By Frederick H. Lowe
Morehouse College has selected Dr. David A. Thomas as the Atlanta-based school’s 12th president, ending a six-month period of transition during which the profiles of more than 100 executives, including several sitting college presidents, were reviewed.
Dr. Thomas, the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business at Harvard Business School and former Dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, will assume office on Jan. 1, 2018.
He will succeed John Silvanus Wilson Jr., whose contract was not renewed. Wilson had been president since 2012. William Taggart who was named Morehouse’s interim president in April, died in June.
Harold Martin Jr., the interim president, will continue to lead the school until January.
“I am humbled and honored to be appointed as the next president of Morehouse College,” Thomas said. “What draws me to Morehouse is that I see a connection between what I value and what this college has always represented –the mission to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service, and to be stewards of black culture and community. There is no place like Morehouse on the planet.”
Morehouse was founded 150 years ago to educate black men. The school has produced Rhodes Scholars and leaders in many fields. The National Science Foundation ranked Morehouse as the No. 1 producer of black men who receive doctorates in education, life and physical sciences, math and computer sciences, psychology and social sciences as well as humanities and the arts.
Dr. Thomas is planning to launch a major capital campaign to increase funds for student scholarships. He also wants to make Morehouse a premier institution for research in the black experience.
He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior Studies and a Master of Philosophy in Organizational Behavior, both from Yale University. He also has a Psychology degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Administrative Sciences degree from Yale.
He is the first Morehouse president in 50 years who is not a graduate of the college. Benjamin Elijah Mays, Morehouse’s sixth president who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the last president who was not an alumnus.