Old Main, the main building of North Central College.

Announcing North Central’s New President - 3/21/23

Dear North Central College Community,

I am thrilled to share that the Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Anita Thomas, Ph.D., to serve as the 11th president of North Central College. She will assume her official role at the College on July 1, 2023.

An inspiring and proven leader, researcher, educator, and psychologist, Dr. Thomas is a champion of liberal arts and sciences education. With more than 25 years of experience in academia, she has a keen sense of the higher education landscape. Just as important, her values are aligned with North Central College’s mission to prepare students to become curious and engaged citizens and leaders in their communities. Dr. Thomas is poised to move the College forward into its next chapter.

This appointment is historic. Dr. Thomas is the first woman and the first person of color to lead North Central College in its 162-year history. In addition to leading the College, she will hold the faculty rank of professor of psychology in North Central’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Since 2019, Dr. Thomas has served as the executive vice president and provost at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., one of the largest private women’s universities in the country. In her role as chief academic officer, she has provided strategic leadership for the university’s academic programs. In addition, she has been responsible for student affairs and career development. Prior to St. Catherine, Dr. Thomas was the founding dean of the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences at the University of Indianapolis. Like North Central College, the University of Indianapolis is affiliated with the United Methodist Church (UMC). Dr. Thomas served at Loyola University Chicago for 10 years, both as a faculty member and administrator. In 2010, she received the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award from Loyola’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Earlier in her career, she was associate professor and department chair for counselor education at Northeastern Illinois University. You can learn more about Dr. Thomas on the College’s website.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to express deep gratitude to the Presidential Search Committee and all who participated in the national search for North Central’s next leader. Under the guidance of Dr. Kathy Birkett, committee chair, that process engaged diverse members of the College community, including trustees, students, alumni, faculty, and staff. You can view the full list of Presidential Search Committee members here.

Dr. Thomas was introduced to the North Central College campus community at a special event earlier today at Wentz Concert Hall. For those who were unable to attend, the event was livestreamed and is now available on the College’s YouTube channel.

Please join me in giving a warm Cardinal welcome to Dr. Thomas and her family!


Holly Humphrey, MD ’79
Chair, Board of Trustees