Thomas University

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Thomas University
Thomas University logo.gif
Type Private
Established 1950
President Dr. James Andrew Sheppard
Students 1,182
Location Thomasville, Georgia, United States
Colors Hunter Green and White
Nickname Night Hawks
Mascot Night Hawk
Affiliations Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Thomas University is a four-year coeducational private university located in Thomasville, Georgia, United States. Thomas University offers students associate, bachelor, and master's degrees. Thomas University provides education to traditional and non-traditional students. There is an academic emphasis on professional career development, with undergraduate and graduate programs in business, criminal justice, education, and health and human services, as well as in the arts and sciences.


The main building and grounds were originally a portion of Birdwood Plantation, the winter house of W. Cameron Forbes, U.S. Ambassador to Japan and Governor General of the Philippines.

The Primitive Baptist Church purchased the property in 1949 and chartered Birdwood Junior College in 1950. Classes began in 1954 with nine students, and in 1956, three of these students became the first graduates. In 1976, the Primitive Baptists relinquished control, and the name was changed to Thomas County Community College.

In 1979, the college became non-sectarian, private, and independent. In 1986, the name was changed to Thomas College, and in 1988, the first four-year degree was offered.

In December 1998, Thomas College received approval from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to move from Level II to Level III status, allowing Thomas College to offer graduate degrees.

In January 2000, Thomas College changed its name to Thomas University. In the fall of 2013, Smith-Bonvilliaion Hall, TU's newest academic building opened on the Main Campus. The 19,000 square-foot building includes a state-of-the-art tiered classroom, faculty offices, and additional classrooms. In the fall of 2012, Thomas University opened its West Campus, which is located at the corner of Pinetree Boulevard and Magnolia Street in Thomasville about one mile from the Main Campus. The West Campus includes TU's gymnasium and new Student Life Center, which is home to the fitness center and athletic training room.


The twenty-nine acre main campus on Millpond has now been augmented by a forty-five acre West Campus at the former Magnolia School. Facilities at the new campus originally included a gymnasium, athletic offices and training facilities. In the fall of 2016, the West Campus will have expanded to include additional classroom space, two residence halls, and a new soccer practice field.[1]


After ten years of service, Dr. Gary Bonvillian was replaced as president by Dr. James Andrew Sheppard in July 2016.[2] During Bonvillian's tenure, Thomas grew from 685 students to 1,182 (2015), more than doubled the size of the campus, and opened ten satellite campuses. In addition, he initiated international cooperative agreements with schools in China which have added about 1,000 students in China.[3]


Thomas focuses on non-traditional students, including not only the older student entering college for the first time, but also high school students getting an early start through the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program.[4] Over thirty per cent of the student body (and the majority of on-campus students) are athletes.[3]


Thomas University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes at the NAIA Division I level in The Sun Conference, formerly known as the Florida Sun Conference (FSC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, golf, soccer and swimming; while women's sports include basketball, golf, soccer, softball and swimming.

Thomas University takes the Night Hawk as its nickname, and the school colors are Hunter Green and White. Athletic teams compete in NAIA. In 2004, the softball team won the NAIA national championship. Thomas joined The Sun Conference in the 2012-13 season. In the 2013-2014 season, basketball returned to Thomas after a 13-year hiatus. In the inaugural game, the Nighthawks men were victorious over visiting Florida National University by a score of 82-71.[5]


  1. ^ "Thomas University to Break Ground for New Residence Halls". WVGA 14 September 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Thomas University announces new president". The Moultrie Observer. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Thomas University President Bonvillian to Retire June 2016". WCTV. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Move on When Ready program at TU opens". Thomasville Times-Enterprise. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  5. ^

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Coordinates: 30°48′58″N 83°58′07″W / 30.8160°N 83.9686°W / 30.8160; -83.9686