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MG (Ret) Randal E. Thomas

MB Member
Southern Illinois University
Appointed: 4/20/2017

Major General (ret.) Randal E. Thomas, of Springfield, was appointed to the SIU Board of Trustees in May 2013. He served from 2003 to 2007 as the 36th Adjutant General of Illinois, the highest National Guard post in the state. He also served on the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission from 2008 to 2011. He currently serves as chair of the Board, chair of the Board’s Executive Committee, member of the Board’s Finance Committee, and member of the Board's Audit Committee. He also serves as the Board’s representative to the Joint Trustee Committee for Springfield Medical Education Programs and to the State Universities Civil Service Merit Board, and the Board’s alternate representative to the Board of Directors, Alumni Association of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

A native of Glen Carbon, he is a graduate of Collinsville High School. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in English from SIU Edwardsville in 1973, a master’s degree in educational technology from SIU Edwardsville in 1980, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2000. He and his wife Joanne met and were married at SIUE.

Thomas received his commission as an Infantry Officer in 1967, while serving in the Army from 1966 to 1969. He was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor for his 1968-1969 combat service in Vietnam with the Army Special Forces.

Prior to his appointment as Adjutant General in 2003, Thomas spent 30 years as an English teacher, librarian and media director at Hillsboro High School.

He was inducted into the U.S. Army Infantry OCS Hall of Fame in 2006 and the SIU Edwardsville Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011. He is a member of the SIU Edwardsville Alumni Association, the U.S. Army War College Alumni Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Guard Association of US, and the National Guard Association of Illinois.