GOLDSBORO — A Lumberton native has been named the next president of Wayne Community College in Goldsboro.
Thomas A. Walker Jr. is expected to be officially named as the college’s sixth president at a trustees meeting on July 26 and begin his duties on Sept. 1.
“I’ve been away from Lumberton since the 1980s,” said Walker, who has served as campus president of the Grand Island Campus of Central Community College in Nebraska since 2014. “But I love North Carolina. It is absolutely my favorite state. My mother and sister still reside there in Lumberton. I am excited to work as the next president of Wayne Community College.”
Before serving at Central Community College, he was the vice president for student and enrollment services for all locations of Central Community College, a multi-campus community college serving a 25-county area in central Nebraska with a population of more than 300,000.
A former officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Walker said one of the perks of his new job at Wayne Community College is a nearby military base — the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base — because it will give him an opportunity to support the military.
Walker has worked in many roles in education throughout his career, including vice president for student affairs at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, Mo., founding executive director of K.I.P.P. (Knowledge is Power Program) St. Louis, dean of administrative services at Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Mo., and Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, Tenn., as well as having served as a full-time faculty member and an academic dean. He also worked as dean of student services and enrollment management at Davidson County Community College in Davidson and Davie counties.
Walker has been involved in several executive development programs, including Harvard University’s Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education, the League of Innovation’s Executive Leadership Program, and the Lakin Institute of the President’ s Roundtable of the American Association of Community Colleges. He has also been a Fellow with the National Center for Education Statistics and Harvard University’s New President Seminar.
For Walker, teaching runs in his family as his father, Thomas Walker Sr., mother, Edith Walker, and sister, Deborah Lindsey, worked in education.
“My father was a career educator at W.H. Knuckles Elementary,” Walker said. “My mother was also a career educator in Robeson County, and my sister worked as a career educator in Cumberland County for many years.”
Walker has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His graduate degrees include a master’s in public administration and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Memphis.
Walker will replace Kay H. Albertson, who served nine years as Wayne Community College’s president. Walker said he valued the excellent leadership of Albertson.
Wayne Community College serves about 3,300 students in 100 degree, diploma, certificate and continuing education programs.