Thomas is new chair of Board of Trustees
Henry M. Thomas, III, of Springfield, is the new chair of the Board of Trustees following his appointment June 27 by Gov. Deval Patrick. Thomas, who was appointed to the board by Patrick in September 2007, succeeds James J. Karam, whose term as chair expired at the end of the academic year. Karam will serve on the board until February, when his term ends.
Thomas, who is president of the Urban League of Springfield, most recently served as the board’s vice chair and chair of its Committee on Academic and Student Affairs.
“Henry Thomas is the consummate citizen-servant. He has served on three of our education boards and has brought strong, committed and well-respected leadership to UMass,” said Patrick. “He follows in the superlative tradition of Jim Karam, who has given 10 years of invaluable contributions to strengthening the UMass community.”
“I am honored that Governor Patrick has asked me to chair the UMass Board of Trustees, and am humbled by his vote of confidence in me. UMass is a treasured asset of the Commonwealth and critical to the future growth and development of our state. I will be following in the footsteps of an extraordinary chairman, who has served the university with distinction for nearly a decade. Jim Karam has exhibited extraordinary leadership, dedication and commitment to help advance UMass to great heights and without his leadership, many accomplishments we witness today would not have occurred,” said Thomas. “From the beginning of my tenure on the board, I have been amazed at the talent embedded in the university system. I look forward to working with my fellow trustees, President Caret and his team in this new role to move the university to even greater heights of academic and research excellence.”
Thomas has worked in the Urban League movement for 35 years, serving 31 years as president and CEO. At the age of 25, he became the youngest appointed Urban League affiliate president and CEO in the nation. Thomas was also deployed on a two-year assignment with the National Urban League in New York serving as its vice-president for youth development, with a focus on infrastructure development to support youth within the inner city communities.
Thomas earned a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in human resource development from American International College and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law. He has also received honorary degrees from Bay Path and Westfield State colleges and completed the Senior Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard University Kennedy School Government and Public Policy.