Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) has appointed Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Vincent A. Thomas as the new executive director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs (OMVA). Thomas will oversee efforts in recruitment, enrollment and retention of veteran and military students while ensuring program success and federal and state regulatory compliance. Additionally, Thomas will coordinate campus-wide training and development on issues related to the veteran and military student population.
OMVA provides dedicated services and programming from pre-admission to graduation and beyond for military and veteran students and their families. As of Fall 2022, EKU serves over 1,700 veterans, active duty service members, Reserve/National Guard members and military spouses and children.
Recent investments into EKU’s military community include a 3,000-square-foot Veterans Education and Transition Support (VETS) Center; the relocation of the EKU Veterans Memorial to Carloftis Garden; and the on-campus Kit Carson Commons Scholar House, prioritizing affordable housing for single-parent military service members and veterans enrolled in an approved post-secondary institution. Additionally, EKU was awarded a five-year federal grant for a Veterans Upward Bound program to prepare first-generation, low-income veterans to enter post-secondary education.
“EKU has a proud history of excellence in veterans' education and support,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “We consistently rank in the top three for Military Friendly Schools and No. 1 in Kentucky as a ‘Best for Vets’ public institution. I am confident that LTC Thomas’ leadership and proven successes will continue to strengthen our educational services for our military and veteran population.”
Thomas has over two decades of experience serving and leading in the U.S. Army and in higher education. He was a battalion commander in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and since 2021, he has been the officer in charge of EKU’s ROTC program as a professor of military science. In the professor position, he also served as a subject-matter expert on Army-related topics and a principal advisor to university leadership on ROTC functions. The position followed a similar post at Missouri State University, where he was responsible for the morale, health and welfare of over 100 cadets and cadre members in the ROTC program.
Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Norwich University in Vermont. Additionally, he received a master’s in national security and strategic studies from Naval War College and a master’s in military art and science from the U.S. Command and General Staff College.
“I am truly humbled and honored to have been selected for this position,” said Thomas. “My ultimate goal coming into this profession is to provide every opportunity for our veteran, military and military-affiliated members to thrive and excel in their education and future employment. We’re here to help students transition into civilian life and prepare them for success in a rapidly evolving workplace.”
EKU will continue its long-standing support for the veteran community through initiatives that uplift military students. EKU’s VETS|ReadyⓇ Opportunity Portal is a public, user-friendly tool that prospective students can use to enter their branch, rank and dates of training to receive a personalized report of credits that will transfer to EKU and requirements that may be needed to graduate. For more information about the services available through OMVA, visit va.eku.edu.