Press Release - Interim President Named at University of Maryland Eastern
August 24, 2001
Interim President Named at University of Maryland Eastern
The University System of Maryland (USM) board of regents, today announced the
appointment of Dr. Jackie (Jack) Thomas as interim resident of the University
of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) effective September 6, 2001. Dr.
Thomas, executive vice president of UMES, will succeed Dr. Dolores R.
Spikes, who recommended the action to the board based on the advice of her
"I made the decision to step down with great regret," said Dr. Spikes,
"but my physical condition prevents me from giving this wonderful
institution the 110 percent effort it deserves from its president. UMES
will be in good hands under the leadership of Dr. Thomas and I commend the
board for its action."
In announcing the appointment of Dr. Thomas, board chairman Nathan A. Chapman,
Jr. said, "The board is confident that Dr. Thomas will continue to steer
UMES on the successful course set by president Spikes. Because of her
fine work, UMES has extended its advanced science, technology and scholarship
well beyond the confines of the walls of its buildings to enhance the well
being and prosperity of the entire state and region. Her health problems
have not diminished her unflagging spirit, which will continue to be an
inspiration to the UMES family." Chapman noted that a search for a
permanent successor to Spikes would begin shortly.
Thomas, 40, who is also a professor of English at the university, received his
Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the Alabama A&M University, Master
of English Education degree from Virginia State University, and a Ph.D. in
Literature and Criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Prior
to his arrival at UMES, he held appointments at the South Carolina State
University and Johnson C. Smith University. At UMES he has served in the
following capacities: executive vice president, professor of English,
associate vice president (chief executive officer of student affairs) for
academic/student affairs, executive assistant to the president, chair of the
department of English and Modern Languages, associate professor of English,
and assistant track coach.
Dr. Thomas is married to the former Linda Goldsmith of Ft. Deposit, Alabama,
and is the father of two sons, Patrick and Darius. He and his family
reside in Salisbury, Maryland.
Dr. Spikes was appointed president of UMES on January 13, 1997. She
received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Southern
University, University of Illinois, and Louisiana State University,
respectively. Prior to coming to UMES, she was the president of the
Southern University and A&M College System, which comprises three campuses
and a law center in Louisiana serving some 16,000 students. From 1988 to 1991,
she served as both president of the System and chancellor of Southern
University at Baton Rouge. She had been with the Southern University System
since 1964, holding a variety of administrative posts and serving on the
mathematics faculty. She began her career as a secondary school science
teacher in Louisiana.
Dr. Spikes' impressive leadership endeavors have extended beyond the UMES
campus. She serves or has served on numerous boards and commissions and has
received numerous honors. In December 1997 she was honored by the Maryland
Coalition of Women for Responsive Government for Excellence in government
service. In 1989, she received the Thurgood Marshall Educational Achievement
Award and was featured in the January 1990 edition of Ebony Magazine. Ebony
Man Magazine also recognized her as one of 20 "Most Influential Black
Women in America".
A historically black land-grant university, UMES awards degrees in the arts
and sciences, agriculture, and business. Located on the rural Eastern Shore,
the university is home to a number of programs unique to the region, including
construction management, airway science, criminal justice, and hotel and
restaurant management. In meeting the diverse needs of its students and the
region, UMES offers 25 undergraduate majors, 9 pre-professional programs, and
10 graduate programs, including doctoral programs in toxicology and