Press Release - Interim President Named at University of Maryland Eastern Shore

August 24, 2001

Interim President Named at University of Maryland Eastern Shore

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 physician.    
"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 marine-estuarine-environmental science.
USM Contact:

Francis Canavan
Phone: 301/445-2722

UMES Contact:

Deirdra Johnson
Phone: 410/651-6669