Central State president pledges $50K to start student scholarship fund

Central State University President Jack Thomas will put 20 percent of his annual base salary this year toward a student scholarship fund.

Thomas said in a video released Wednesday that he will pledge $50,000 of his annual salary and take a $50,000 matching gift to create a presidential scholarship fund for students. Thomas became president two weeks ago amid furloughs and budget cuts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“I would not ask others to endure sacrifices that I am not willing to endure myself,” he said.

Although it was difficult to see the university make budget cuts and work hour reductions, Thomas said the measures ensured the university could remain on “sound financial footing.”

Thomas said he will leverage the cumulative $100,000 to draw other contributors to the fund, which will be used to give students opportunities.

“Today’s commitments are just the beginning for Central State,” he said. “Great things lie ahead.”

Thomas is the ninth president of CSU and previously served as president of Western Illinois University.

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