PEMBROKE — W. Stewart Thomas has been promoted to vice chancellor for Finance and Administration at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The university’s board of trustees approved Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings’ recommendation on Monday.
Thomas has spent the majority of his 17-year career at UNCP in the School of Business, working his way up from lecturer to associate professor, to associate dean. In recent years, Thomas has stepped in to fill several top-level positions, including interim associate provost, interim associate vice chancellor for Enrollment and interim dean of the School of Business. This past year, Thomas also served as faculty athletic representative.
“It is an extreme honor to be selected for this position,” Thomas said. “For the past 17 years, UNCP has been an integral part of my life. I have been very fortunate to be able to serve in several positions, work my way up and contribute at a higher level.”
“Dr. Stewart Thomas has developed an invaluable combination of skills and experiences that uniquely prepares him for success as vice chancellor for Finance and Administration,” Cummings said.
Before joining UNCP, Thomas worked 10 years for Eaton Corporation in Laurinburg. He served as controller for the Golf Grip Division, for the North American and UK operations. A certified public accountant, he previously served as chief financial officer for ZF Meritor.
Encouraging words from his former boss, Dave Bartek, sparked Thomas’ career move to academia.
“He would always tell me, ‘you need to teach because you have an uncanny way of explaining things to others,’” Thomas said. “So, when an opportunity afforded itself a couple of years later, I accepted a lecturer position at UNCP.”
Thomas, a Maxton native, has always had a strong personal connection to the university. His late mother, Betty Jean Thomas, graduated from what was then Pembroke State University. She also received her master’s degree from Pembroke State University.
“I live in Laurinburg, but my birthplace is Robeson County,” he said. “I have a strong passion for the well-being and economic growth of Robeson County, Scotland County, and the economic well-being of the entire region.”
Thomas begins his new role on Aug. 21.
His new responsibilities will range from finance, management, and budgeting to facilities, strategic planning, purchasing, business services, human resources and the Division of Information Technology.
Thomas will serve as the chief financial officer of UNCP and treasurer of the UNCP Foundation Board.
His community service awards include, the Scotland County Chamber of Commerce Dunbar/McCoy Community Service Award, and two-time recipient of the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteerism.
Thomas’ civic involvement includes serving the past 11 years on the Scotland Health Care System’s finance committee. He has also dedicated many years as a member of the Scotland Regional Hospice Board of Directors.
Thomas and his wife, Carol, have co-chaired the Scotland County Relay for Life since its inception in 1997.
“It has been an honor to chair Relay along with my wife and an amazing team of volunteers for the past 21 years,” Thomas said. “I am passionate about service and giving back to the community and serving the less fortunate.”
Thomas received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his master’s from Campbell University, and his doctorate from Capella University in Minnesota.
He and his wife live in Laurinburg. Thomas has a son, Chris, and two stepchildren, Andrew and Amanda.