January 16, 2008
BOSTON—The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) has selected Dr. Michael K. Thomas, current senior vice president, to serve as interim president and CEO of the nonprofit, six-state education agency. Thomas succeeds Dr. Evan S. Dobelle, a former Trinity College president who led NEBHE for three years before accepting the job of president of Westfield State College in Westfield, Massachusetts.
“I find Michael Thomas to have extraordinary talent, and I know he will do an outstanding job leading NEBHE,” said outgoing president Evan S. Dobelle. NEBHE chair and former Maine state senator Mary R. Cathcart added “It’s an exciting time for NEBHE, we look forward to Dr. Thomas successfully continuing the work of the board.”
As NEBHE Sr. Vice President, Thomas directed NEBHE’s policy, research and programmatic activities, primarily focused on expanding innovative K-12, postsecondary and life-long learning policies and on promoting collaboration among leaders in business, government and education. He directed NEBHE’s College Ready New England initiative, a regional alliance to increase college readiness and success among residents of the six New England states.
Thomas has worked in corporate training and human resources and held varied administrative positions in higher education institutions, both public and private. He served as a policy aid in the University of Massachusetts President’s Office and subsequently as coordinator of institutional research and as executive assistant to the president at Lesley University.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in higher education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He earned a doctorate in education and social policy from Harvard and an M.B.A. from Boston University. Thomas has also taught as an adjunct professor and lecturer and serves as trustee and vice-chair of the board of Worcester State College.
NEBHE was established in 1955 by a congressionally authorized, interstate compact designed to encourage cooperation among New England colleges and universities, which now number more than 270. NEBHE programs focus on the relationship between New England higher education and regional economic development. Its board is comprised of distinguished academics, business leaders and elected officials from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.