Richard R. (Rick) Thomas is the new director of Norris University Center.
Thomas, who had served as director of student centers at DePaul University since 2001, began his duties Aug. 18. He succeeds William Johnston who retired after nine years as director.
He will be responsible for leadership and general management of the center’s functions, services and programs, including event planning and production; student activities; facility services and management; marketing; financial management; information technology; food services, bookstores and other contacted services; and human resources management.
Thomas will be a member of the senior leadership team of the Division of Student Affairs.
At DePaul, Thomas was responsible for four student center/conference facilities that accommodated more than 4,000 events and programs annually. He managed contracted food service vendors on three campuses and oversaw beverage and snack vending services for six DePaul campuses.
He also managed a residential meal plan program for 2,500 campus residents, had responsibility for Barat campus food operations and oversaw the opening of the Lincoln Park Student Center.
Prior to DePaul, Thomas had served as director of the Hermann Union and student activities at the Illinois Institute of Technology since 1996. He was responsible for a union facility that accommodates events and houses an information desk, convenience store, recreation center with bowling alley, food court, faculty club, campus pub, meeting rooms and an auditorium. He also was responsible for contracted food service vendor, maintenance staff, private vendors and custodial service. He oversaw an upgrade of the Hermann Union Building and assisted in the creation of a computer lab in the building.
Thomas’ other experience includes assistant director of operations at the Phyllis P. Marshall Center at the University of South Florida; associate director of the Valparaiso Union and director of conference services at Valparaiso University; and residence hall director at Valparaiso.
Thomas received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a master of science in administration degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame.