Shawn Thomas Returns to Alma Mater

PLAINVIEW - A familiar face is returning to Wayland Baptist University this spring to fill the position of Executive Director of Students Services. Shawn Thomas, a 1995 graduate, takes over for Brad Miles who left the university to pursue a full-time pastorate with First Baptist Church in Shallowater.

Thomas graduated with a double major in religion and psychology. He earned a Master's of Business Administration degree from Wayland in 2003. Upon graduating in '95, he began working at Wayland as a recruiter in the admission office. Thomas left Wayland in January of 2000 to take a similar position in the admissions office at West Texas A&M. He was there for only 6 months before returning to Wayland as the Director of Admissions, a position he held until 2006. Thomas then bounced back to WT where he served as associate director then director of admission until 2012.

Following his stint in higher education, Thomas went into private business where he stayed until 2020. Through it all, however, he said missed campus life.

"I had a desire to come back to higher education," Thomas said. "I missed the opportunity to work with students and to impact their lives. God opened this door and that is what brought me back here."

Thomas started in Dec. 28 and has already spent time getting to know the Student Services staff, saying he is impressed with what they have done in light of the COVID-19 pandemic last fall and the planning that has taken place moving into the spring semester.

"It's an unprecedented time," he said. "What they did last fall and preparing for the spring is impressive. This is a great group that cares about the students and this campus, and it shows in their willingness to go above and beyond."

Thomas said health and safety concerns for the student body is driving the decision making as school opens this semester. Wayland has already held a COVID testing day for students and employees, and Thomas said the school will continue to schedule testing throughout the semester.

While Thomas is no stranger to higher education, his experience has been in student recruitment and admissions. He said learning the student services side of things is something that is new and exciting.

"Really, I'm just listening and trying to support what we are already doing. I'm learning where things are and what we need to improve on," he said. "Wayland has a special place in my heart. I'm excited to be a part of this team, working and growing together."

Thomas is currently commuting from Canyon where his wife, Tara, is a physical education teacher at City View Elementary School, and a private tennis coach. They have a daughter, Aubrey, age 17 and a son, Trace, age 14. Aubrey is completing her senior year at Canyon High School and Trace is an eighth grade student at Canyon Junior High.