Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top

Eastern announces university chancellor Thomas Gibson ’96 as commencement speaker

Published on April 03, 2023

Eastern announces university chancellor Thomas Gibson ’96 as commencement speaker

Thomas Gibson

Eastern Connecticut State University has announced that Dr. Thomas Gibson ’96 will be the keynote speaker for its 132nd Commencement Exercises, held May 16, 2023, at the XL Center in Hartford. Gibson is a 1996 Eastern graduate and the current chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Gibson will also receive an honorary degree at the ceremony.

“We are pleased to honor Dr. Gibson as this year’s commencement speaker,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Dr. Gibson is one of our most accomplished alumni and a prime example of the achievement that can be attained through an Eastern education. Furthermore, from one university president to another, I am gratified to see that he leads UW-Stevens Point with the same values and guiding principles that we follow at Eastern inclusion, access, academic excellence and hands-on learning. Dr. Gibson is an inspiring alumnus for our new graduates to hear from as they advance beyond Eastern.”

“I’m pleased to return to Eastern Connecticut State University, a place that has given so much to me both personally and professionally,” said Gibson. This is the institution where I discovered my purpose. While I majored in communication, it was here that I was first introduced to the profession of student affairs and higher education administration. I discovered my greatest satisfaction was in helping other students, which has led to a career dedicated to student success and expanding opportunities for them.

Gibson became the 15th chancellor of UW-Stevens Point on Jan. 11, 2021. Highlights of his first year as chancellor include the launch of an online and graduate program enrollment initiative; the opening of the University’s Center for Inclusive Excellence; and efforts to provide first-year students with applied learning experiences.

Early in his tenure, Gibson created the Chancellor’s Commission on the Ancestors Buried Below Us to expand educational opportunities for Indigenous students, families and communities. Gibson helped secure Wisconsin state approval and $96 million to replace Albertson Hall, which housed student support services and the library’s collection. Under his leadership, UW-Stevens Point also received several major gifts that give students greater hands-on opportunities, including a land donation to support programs of the College of Natural Resources; a cello and music advocacy faculty fellowship; and the Skyward Internship Center located on campus. New academic programs include a community sustainability major, a doctorate in physical therapy, and certificates in inclusive excellence and Native American and Indigenous studies.

Prior to joining UW-Stevens Point, Gibson served as vice president for student affairs and vice provost at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH, from 2016–2020. In these roles, he advocated for the academic and social development of students, devised institutional policies, engaged in strategic planning, led student success efforts and oversaw diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. He also supported an increase in record student retention and helped raise $8 million in collaboration with the University’s advancement team.

Gibson has held numerous positions to enhance student success and diversity in higher education. He was associate vice president of student affairs at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. He held several roles at York College/City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City, including associate dean for student development. He also led academic support services at Queens College/CUNY and the University of Connecticut at Stamford. Throughout his career,

Gibson has also taught graduate courses in higher education and English and undergraduate interdisciplinary programs.

As an undergraduate at Eastern, Gibson majored in communication. He completed his master’s degree in education from University of New Haven (CT) and his doctorate in educational leadership in higher education at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI.

Gibson grew up in New Haven, CT, and enjoys reading, theatre, live music and traveling. He and his wife, Brigette, are the proud parents of their daughter, Kennedy.

Written by By Michael Rouleau and Ed Osborn