Renee Thomas -- Director
Phone: (765) 494-3091
Renee A. Thomas currently serves as Director of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center. She has twenty years of experience in higher education administration with expertise in program development, student services, community engagement and fundraising. Thomas is committed to promoting a campus climate that ensures the inclusion of diverse students, faculty, and staff in all aspects of the university. During her tenure, Thomas has been known for her ability to nurture, support and mentor students. She plays an active role in enhancing student success and retention. She is service oriented and encourages global citizenship and academic achievement.
Thomas has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, under her direction, the BCC has positioned itself to be nationally recognized as one of the best centers in the country. The Purdue 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 purposeful, holistic, scholarly, and co-curricular programming designed to strengthen understanding of African American heritage. The center enhances the academic, cultural and social development of the entire community.
In 1999, the BCC moved into a new multi-million dollar freestanding facility. Thomas was instrumental in spearheading the fundraising campaign to support the construction project and provided visionary leadership to make the dream of a new facility become a reality. Throughout her tenure, Thomas has been responsible for development of the annual Cultural Arts Series which features prominent scholars who have contributed extensively to human rights, business and education. She was the driving force behind the development of a curriculum-based programming model for the Purdue Black Cultural Center performing arts ensemble program which includes an educational research tour.
Renee Thomas was the recipient of the YWCA Salute to Women Award which honors women for outstanding and inspirational achievement, community involvement and distinguished service as a role model. Other notable honors include: the 2007 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. She is a graduate of the College of New Jersey and completed her Masters Degree in College Student Personnel at Ohio University.
In addition to her professional duties, Thomas is engaged in the local community. She has held leadership positions on numerous civic, cultural, professional and volunteer organizations. She served on the Board of Directors for Leadership Lafayette, YWCA, Eli Lilly Community Advisory Panel, Tippecanoe Arts Federation Director Roundtable and the Advisory Council for Hanna Community Center. She is actively involved in the children’s ministry program at Bethel AME, Lafayette, IN. In her free time she enjoys gardening, fishing and spending time with her husband Joseph and their daughter Lauren.