Retired general named SIU trustees chairman

By Matt Daray


The newest SIU Board of Trustees member knows a thing or two about keeping a group in order.

Retired Major Gen. Randal E. Thomas is taking over the chairman position for the university’s Board of Trustees. Thomas’ experience in the U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam and as commander in the Illinois National Guard has convinced many people of his leadership ability. Some members of the university think Thomas will also bring a sense of order to the board, which has been known to fight publicly over the past several months.


University president Glenn Poshard said he thinks Thomas is a good fit for the job and will excel at being the new chairman.

“I think he has excellent leadership skills, obviously his background and experience,” he said. “He is very familiar with taking on challenges and planning to meet them.”

Poshard said Thomas is a personable leader and is trying to unite the Board of Trustees, and has been fair about the effort. He said Thomas has familiarized himself with the university’s goals and is willing to help make changes.

“I think he’s going to make every effort to unite the board,” he said. “He has spent a ton of time reading the background and history of the university, the mission of the university.”

Governor Pat Quinn appointed Thomas earlier this year as part of a second round of appointees after the Illinois Senate rejected his initial slate.

Thomas also has extensive experience as a civil servant, being the state’s 36th Adjutant General from 2003 to 2007, and spent 30 years as an English teacher and librarian at Hillsboro High School. He also earned his master’s degree in strategic studies in 2000 from the U.S. Army War College.

Thomas was contacted by The Daily Egyptian about this article, but did not respond before Tuesday’s deadline. He will serve a six-year term on the board.


The next Board of Trustees meeting will be July 11 at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.