Search Committee Chairman

UMass Boston Search Committee Chairman Henry M. Thomas, III
Chairman Henry M. Thomas, III

Henry M. Thomas, III serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Springfield, Inc. Thomas is a native of Springfield, MA and has worked in the Urban League movement for forty-five years; serving thirty-nine years as President and CEO. He was hired upon graduation from Undergraduate school. Four years later, at the age of twenty-six, Thomas became the youngest appointed President/CEO of a National Urban League Affiliate, in the Nation. He began as the Youth and Education Coordinator, and was promoted to Voter Registration and Education Director. Subsequently, Thomas was promoted to the Deputy Executive Director.

Mr. Thomas serves as Chief Executive Officer for the historic Camp Atwater - the oldest African American overnight youth development camp in the United States. Camp Atwater is an 80 acre facility (located in Worcester County). It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mr. Thomas accepted a two-year assignment with the National Urban League (New York) serving as its Vice-President for Youth Development – primary focus: advocacy for programmatic infrastructure development to support youth development within the inner city communities.

Mr. Thomas is the producer and host of “Urban League Community Focus,” a weekly radio program on WTCC 90.7FM; now in its 20th year with listening audience of approximately 65,000 people in the Western Mass. and Northern Connecticut regions.

Mr. Thomas serves on numerous local, state and national boards including: New Leadership Charter School (Founder & former Chairman of the Board of Trustees); Step Up Springfield (Founder and Co-Chairman); Hamden County Regional Employment Board (Executive Committee member); National Association of Urban League Executives (Past President); Springfield Cable TV Endowment, Board of Trustees, Past Chair (1st African American); Springfield Fire Commission, Past Chair (1st African American); Springfield Police Commission, Past Chair (1st African American); Massachusetts Board of Education, Past Vice-Chair; University of Massachusetts; Curry College, Visiting professor; University of Massachusetts, Board of Trustees, Trustee; Past Chair (1st African American); University of Massachusetts Building Authority, Trustee & Vice Chair; Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, Member; EMKI, (Edward M Kennedy Institute), Trustee; National Urban League Education Taskforce, Co-chair; UMass System Presidential Search, Co-Chair; National Urban League Presidential Search, Member; Westfield State University Presidential Search, Member; UMass Dartmouth; UMass Chancellor Search, Member; Amherst Search Committees, Member; Springfield 5A (Athletic Academic Arts Achievement Association) Co-Founder; Western Massachusetts Sports Commission, Commissioner; St. John’s Cong. Churc, Steward Committee, Co-Chair; “City of Springfield’s Millennium Celebration” 2000, Co-Chaired with Cong. Richard E. Neal; American Camp Association; Trustee on National Board- Elected; USO Board Member; Western MA Sports Commission, Member; Natl. Urban League Education Committee, Co-Chair; Governor’s Appointment to MA Cannibis Advisory Board; Governor’s Black Advisory Commission, Commissioner; and UMass Boston Chancellor Search, Chair.

Mr. Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology; Masters of Arts degree in Human Resource Development from American International College; and a Jurisprudence Doctorate degree from Western New England University School of Law. Thomas also received honorary Doctoral Degrees from BayPath University and Westfield State University; Completed the Senior Executive Leadership Program, Harvard University - Kennedy School for Government and Public Policy.

Mr. Thomas is a member of the National Bar Association, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi (Boule) and the Richard B. Allen Lodge #30 Masonic Order, Brethren, and Camp Atwater Alumni Assoc. He is a member of the St. John’s Congregational Church.

Mr. Thomas has received numerous awards and recognitions during his career including: Ubora Award: Excellence Award for Distinguished Community Service; University of Massachusetts Distinguished Service Award 2008; Western New England University President’s Medallion Award”; National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Human Relations Award, 2013; Inducted into the “Springfield High School Sports Hall of Fame; Football, Track and Gymnastics Class of 2009”; Inducted into the “National Football Foundation Collegian Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2014; Governor’s Transition Teams (2006) and (2010)”, appointed by Governor Deval Patrick; “Distinguished Service Award” from the “Massachusetts Legislative Black Caucus; “Leadership Award” from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; “Distinguish Service Award” from the National Urban League’s Association of Executives; “Community Builder Award, 2000” from the Urban League of Springfield; “2012 Citizen of the Year Award” Omega Psi Phi “Fraternity; and Basketball Hall of Fame and Rotary “Service Above Self Award”.

Mr. Thomas’ bride of 46 years is Devonia J. Thomas who hails from Marshall, TX and recently retired as a Vice Principal in Springfield Public Schools. They have two children: Son, Perren, Wall St. Investment banker and daughter, Shadae, an elementary school Principal in Springfield School District and Teaching Fellow at Harvard University; Doctoral Candidate in “Educational Leadership”, Devonia and Henry are the proud Grandparents of 2 Grandsons, Perren; 5 & Penn 7mons.

Mr. Thomas relaxes by playing racquetball, golf, saxophone, tennis, reading and watching lots of sports!