Center for Servant Leadership: Meet Vincent Thomas

Posted on July 11th, 2011 by

Vincent A. Thomas, J.D.

Vincent Thomas

Vincent Thomas is from a family of four – two parents, and one younger sister. Vince grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He attended college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (English major, Class of ’83); and law school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison (J.D., Class of ’86.) Vince moved to Minneapolis immediately after law school to join Briggs and Morgan (Minnesota’s fourth largest Law firm). Vince wanted to live in a Midwest city with a great quality of life, and he thought Minneapolis would be a good fit – he was right! He met his wife, Barbara, four years later. They were married in 1992.

Vince left the firm after nine years to join the Hamline Law School administration as Assistant Dean of Students and Adjunct Law Professor. He was an Orientation Leader and Resident Advisor in college, and he thought the job would be a perfect combination of the two professions that he knew best -law and university student affairs. Happily – he was right again! Vince then moved on to serve as Assistant Dean for Student and Multicultural Affairs at University of St. Thomas Law. For the last year, Vince pursued a career transition to university advancement/philanthropy by working in funds development for Kwanzaa Community Church, Minnesota’s only predominately African-American Presbyterian Church.

Vince knew he’d miss serving students and working on a university campus when he left UST Law. What he didn’t know was how much he’d miss it. His former students often asked to meet him for talks over coffee, and Vince always said “yes.” At one of these meetings last December, a former student said “you just can’t stop being the Dean of Students, can you?” His comment caused Vince to think a lot about what he felt called to do in his work life during the holidays.

Vince also served as a parent volunteer in the College and Career Center at his daughter’s high school last year. He spent two hours every Tuesday afternoon helping seniors write their college admission and scholarship application essays, and underclassmen write part-time job resumes. Vince loved this work! Those two hours were the best two hours of every week.

Vince talked about all this with a long-time friend and mentor in January. He encouraged Vince to return to university student affairs work because Vince liked it, was good at it, and because “colleges will always have students who need support and advice.” Thankfully, Vince decided to take his advice.

Vince applied for the Gustavus Internship Program Director job because it was an opportunity to do two of the things he loved the most at Hamline and UST: 1) advising students on career and academic matters; and 2) asking employers to hire the College’s students. Vince also applied because the job was at Gustavus. He wanted to work at a college that valued the combination of faith and intellect. He thought Gustavus would be a good fit because Vince had visited Gustavus several times as an admissions representative for Hamline and UST law schools, and as the parent of a girls Gustie Soccer Camp camper. Vince liked and respected Gustavus, felt at home on its campus, and shares its core values.

Vince is still from a family of four. He and his wife Barbara, have a fifteen-year old daughter, Mary, who is a junior at Minneapolis South High, and a ten-year old son, Michael, who is a sixth-grader (first year of Middle School.) They live in Minneapolis, near Lake Harriet and Minnehaha Creek.

For fun, Vince enjoys going running, reading about American history, religion, or politics, and following the daily progress of the Detroit Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and Red Wings, and the University of Michigan Wolverines. Both of his children play sports (baseball, Ultimate Frisbee, Nordic skiing, and soccer); Vince loves being at their games with his wife and their teammates’ parents. Vince loves college sports, and hope to attend as many Gustie games as possible. If he has a day off, you’ll find him at Starbucks reading the New York Times.

Vince is a great person to get to know in the Center. Talk with Vince to learn about how important it is to do an internship during your time at Gustavus, how to find an internship, or how to get registered to do an internship for credit. Vince would love to meet you, so stop in today!

 

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