Western IL University President Stepping Down

Jun 14, 2019

Jack Thomas
Credit WIU

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) — The president of Western Illinois University is resigning at the end of June after eight years in the post.

Jack Thomas made the announcement Friday. He told an audience of about 200 people that Western Illinois "would best be served by new leadership" at a "pivotal time" for the school.

Thomas has been under fire from alumni and others. The Quad-City Times reports that enrollment has dropped 35% in the last decade, although administrators say it's due to many factors, including population trends and cuts in state support.

Greg Aguilar, chairman of the board of trustees, thanked Thomas for his service. He and other trustees stood and applauded, joined by many in the audience.

Western Illinois' enrollment has dropped to 5,600 students at it's Macomb campus.  A decade ago, that number was 10,000.  The university also has a campus in Moline.  

Thomas is the first African-American to hold the position at the school.  He had been a finalist for other jobs across the country in recent years.