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|President||James Andrew Sheppard|
|Colors||Hunter Green and White|
|Affiliations||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges|
Thomas University is a private university in Thomasville, Georgia. It offers associate, bachelor, and master's degrees.
The main building and grounds were originally a portion of Birdwood Plantation, the winter house of W. Cameron Forbes, U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1930 to 1932 and Governor General of the Philippines from 1909 to 1913.
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-Bonvillian Hall, TU's newest academic building, opened on the Forbes 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 Magnolia Campus, which is located at the corner of Pinetree Boulevard and Magnolia Street in Thomasville about one mile from the main campus. The Magnolia Campus includes TU's gymnasium and new Student Life Center, which is home to the fitness center and athletic training room.
In December 2016, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSOC) placed Thomas University under Warning Status, despite having its accredidation reaffirmed.
The twenty-nine acre Forbes Campus (located at the intersection of Pinetree Boulevard and Millpond Road) has now been augmented by a forty-five acre Magnolia Campus (located at the intersection of Magnolia Street and Pinetree Boulevard). Facilities at the Magnolia Campus include a gymnasium, athletic offices and training facilities. In the fall of 2016, the Magnolia Campus expanded to include additional classroom spaces, two residence halls, and a new soccer practice field.
After ten years of service, Dr. Gary Bonvillian was replaced as president by Dr. James Andrew Sheppard in July 2016.During Bonvillian's tenure, Thomas grew from 685 students to 1,182 (2015), more than doubled the size of the campus, and opened satellite campuses. In addition, he initiated international cooperative agreements with schools in China which have added about 1,000 students in China.
Thomas focuses on non-traditional students and high school students getting an early start through the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program.Over thirty per cent of the student body (and the majority of on-campus students) are athletes. As of the fall of 2017, TU had an enrollment of 1,202 students on campus and online.
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.
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