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Former Penn State President Dies at 81

Joab Thomas, the university’s 15th president, retired in 1995.

Joab Thomas (Photo courtesy of Penn State)
Joab Thomas (Photo courtesy of Penn State)

Joab Thomas, a former president of Penn State University, died Monday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was 81.

Thomas was president of the school from 1990 to 1995, Penn State said in a statement.

"Joab Thomas was a brilliant scholar, a visionary leader and a true gentleman," said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. "His commitment to students was legendary, and he played a critical role in building Penn State into an internationally ranked university.”

Plans for the university’s Bryce Jordan Center began during Thomas’ tenure, the university said. The BJC opened in 1996, just after Thomas’ retirement.

Thomas also oversaw Penn State’s entry into the Big Ten.

The university has compiled a full list of Thomas' achievements; see it here.

The Thomas Building, on the University Park campus at the corner of Pollock and Shortlidge, is named for Thomas.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Marly; four children, and 13 grandchildren.

harryfinster March 05, 2014 at 11:21 AM
all these supposed great leaders that dont take this school anywhere

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