Air Force personnel director to speak at WBU commencement

PLAINVIEW – Rob C. Thomas II, executive director of the U.S. Air Force personnel center at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, will bring the commencement address for the May 5 ceremony at Wayland Baptist University.

Slated for 2 p.m. in Hutcherson Center, the ceremony has been moved due to technical problems in Harral Memorial Auditorium. Approximately 107 individuals will receive degrees including graduate degrees and baccalaureate degrees. Jalissa King, a graduating senior from Portales, N.M., will bring the student address. Other graduates will participate in the ceremony as well, from reading scripture and leading pledges to praying and presenting special music.

A 1992 graduate of Wayland’s San Antonio campus, Thomas is the fourth-highest ranking non-appointed civilian in the Air Force. He oversees the workforce of more than 2,000 military, civilian and contracted personnel at Randolph in the Personnel Center. As the execution arm of Air Force personnel operations enabling the warfighter, the personnel center impacts more than 1.5 million Total Force active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilians worldwide from accessions to force development to post-career transition services. Thomas also oversees the orchestration of technology systems for personnel service delivery and integration with Department of Defense personnel systems.

Prior to his personnel role, Thomas served in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C., as deputy chief information officer and Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration. He has served with U.S. Customs, Veterans Affairs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well in his 28-year civilian career with the military.

He holds a master’s degree in information systems management from Colorado Tech University and has been involved in various career development and leadership seminars through the military. He received the Meritorious Service Medal in 1997 and the State of Colorado Meritorious Service Medal in 1998. He has been honored several times by the Federal Chief Information Officers Council and, in 2006, was given the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award, the highest award given to civilians, by the White House. He also received decoration for exceptional civilian service.

Parking for Hutcherson Center is located directly to the east and southeast outside Harral Auditorium, or along Seventh and Eighth Streets. Overflow parking is available at Hilliard Field, located at Eighth and Xenia streets.