Emphasis
12:05 pm
Fri August 19, 2011

Emphasis - August 19

Macomb, IL – Rich Egger's guest is Jack Thomas, who is beginning his first year as President of Western Illinois University.

Dr Thomas had been WIU's provost. He took office as the university's 11th president on July 1, replacing Dr Al Goldfarb.

There have been a lot of changes in administration at Western of late and a number of those positions are being filled on an interim basis. Thomas does not consider that a hindrance.

"Those individuals are very familiar with Western," Thomas said. "They basically hit the ground running without skipping a beat.

Thomas said the state still owes WIU $25.3 million for Fiscal Year 2011, which ended June 30. He does not know when the state will meet its financial obligation to the university.

Thomas said despite the state's cash flow problems, Western does not plan to let go of workers.

"It is certainly our plan to make sure we have no layoffs and furloughs. We will do all that we can - as we have done in the past - to make sure that does not happen," Thomas said. "We pride ourselves on doing that."

Thomas wants to attract more students who finish at or near the top of their high school class. He thinks WIU will need to offer more scholarships to attract those students.