Renee A. Thomas earned her bachelor's degree from the College of New Jersey and master's degree in college student personnel from Ohio University.
Thomas has more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration, with expertise in program development, student services, community engagement and fundraising. She is committed to promoting a campus climate that ensures the inclusion of diverse students, faculty and staff in all aspects of the University. Thomas is known for her ability to nurture, support and mentor students and plays an active role in enhancing student success and retention.
Under Thomas' leadership, the BCC has blossomed into a nationally recognized center that is considered one of the best collegiate cultural centers in the country. She was instrumental in providing vision and spearheading fundraising to support the construction of the current multimillion-dollar BCC building, which opened in 1999. The Black Cultural Center was awarded the National Council for Black Studies 2006 Sankore Institutional Award and the National Association of Black Culture Centers 2007 Kemet Award. The center provides holistic, scholarly and co-curricular programming designed to strengthen the understanding of African-American heritage. The center enhances the academic, cultural and social development of the entire community.
Thomas has been responsible for developing the BCC's annual Cultural Arts Series, featuring prominent scholars who have contributed extensively to human rights, business and education. She was the driving force behind developing curriculum-based programming for the BCC's Performing Arts Ensemble program, including a yearly educational research tour.
Because of her work, Thomas has received numerous awards, including the YWCA Salute to Women Award, the 2007 Purdue Martin Luther King Jr. Dreamer Award, Trenton State College Distinguished Alumni Award, Purdue Black Graduate Association Staff Leadership Award and the Tippecanoe County Minority Health Coalition Award for Community Service.
In addition to her professional duties, Thomas has held leadership positions on numerous civic, cultural, professional and volunteer organizations. She served on the board of directors for Leadership Lafayette and the YWCA, the Eli Lilly community advisory panel, Tippecanoe Arts Federation's director's roundtable and the Hanna Community Center's advisory council. She is actively involved in the children's ministry program at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Lafayette. In her free time she enjoys gardening, fishing and spending time with her husband, Joseph, and their daughter, Lauren.