On July 1, 2023, North Central College welcomed a dynamic and accomplished leader, Anita Thomas, Ph.D., as its 11th president. Dr. Thomas is the first woman and person of color to hold this prestigious position at the college. With an impressive background in leadership, research, education, and psychology spanning over 25 years in higher education, she is poised to bring a fresh perspective and transformative vision to the institution. In this interview with Liz Spencer of Naperville Notables on 630 Naperville, Dr. Thomas shares her insights, book recommendations, musical inspirations, and goals for her first year at North Central College.
Dr. Thomas shared her top book recommendations during her interview with Liz Spencer. First on her list was “The Four Pivots” by Shawn A. Ginwright, Ph.D. She highlighted the book’s relevance in the post-COVID era, where empowerment and hope are crucial elements of social justice work.
Her second recommendation, “Burnout: The Secrets to Unlocking Stress” by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, addresses stress and emotions with a focus on women’s experiences. She praised the book for its valuable insights into coping with stress.
Lastly, she recommended “She’s Up to No Good” by Sara Goodman Confino for a more lighthearted read. This thrilling tale weaves together the stories of a grandmother and her granddaughter, offering mystery and intrigue.
The guidance she would offer a younger Dr. Anita Thomas
When asked about the advice she would give her younger self, Dr. Thomas emphasized the importance of reflection amidst life’s busyness. She encouraged herself to pause and consider the lessons learned about herself and others, acknowledging the value of these insights in her current role as president. “You know, it’s easy to be in the hectic flow, and I want to enjoy every minute of this, said Thomas.”
What music is she playing on repeat?
Dr. Thomas revealed her love for Beyoncé and shared a particularly meaningful song called “Oceans” by Hillsong. She found its message of faith and embracing the voyage deeply resonated with her, saying, “It really talks a lot about being in the moment and having faith in new challenges. And there’s some lyrics about walking on the water, not quite knowing where you’re going, but sort of being centered in the journey.”
First-year as president of North Central College
As she embarks on her first year as North Central College’s president, Dr. Thomas eagerly looks forward to connecting with the college’s energetic and hopeful student body. She expressed her excitement, stating, “I think they’re ready to help to change the world. I’m looking forward to working with this generation to help them to address whatever challenges they think they’re going to face.”