Thom Chesney – Clarke University President
Thom Chesney is President of Brookhaven College in Dallas, TX. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature as well as master’s degrees in creative writing from both Minnesota State University and Brookhaven College.
Sister Joanne Burrows announced in February 2019 her plans to retire as president of Clarke University by July of 2022, prompting an international search process to select Chesney as its new leader.
Early Life and Education
Thom Chesney is renowned in his community and as an educator. Specifically, he served as president of Brookhaven College – part of Dallas County Community College District – from 2011-2019.
At the college, he led efforts to provide transformative educational programs and learning opportunities to students, as well as to expand shared governance, international engagement, faculty/staff development initiatives, resources and shared governance structures.
He has served on numerous boards and advisory committees, including the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce which honored him with their 2014 Citizen of the Year award. Together with his wife Noelle and two children residing in Dubuque Iowa he enjoys traveling as well as spending quality time with family.
Thom Chesney works at Clarke University located in Dubuque, Iowa. This four-year, private coeducational institution provides 28 undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs; seven graduate programs; and two certificates accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association.
Chesney will focus his new role on advancing academic excellence, increasing access and attainment, strengthening regional engagement and expanding global connections, as well as continuing his efforts to foster diversity and inclusion.
Mr. Hake brings extensive leadership experience from colleges and universities, such as being president of Brookhaven College in Dallas; serving as associate provost for student success and assessment at the University of Texas at Dallas; vice president and provost of Collin College; as well as community colleges.
Achievement and Honors
Thom Chesney has earned numerous laudatory distinctions throughout his illustrious career. Notable achievements include receiving multiple Country Music Association and Billboard awards and attaining platinum, double-platinum, triple-platinum, and quadruple-platinum status with various albums released under his name.
He has held various leadership roles at numerous universities and colleges. These positions include being president of Brookhaven College within Dallas County Community College District in Texas; serving as professor and administrator at UT Dallas; Pennsylvania College of Technology; Texas Wesleyan University among others.
Chesney took full advantage of his visit to La Grande by meeting with EOU students, faculty and staff as well as community and business leaders. Additionally, he took an opportunity to tour campus. Chesney is an active community member serving on both Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce (where he was named 2014 Citizen of the Year), as well as on its leadership programs advisory committee for Spectrum Aspiring Leaders program by American Council on Education Spectrum Aspiring Leaders program.
Clarke University President Thom Chesney announced on Tuesday he will step down when his contract expires at the end of 2022. Chesney, who joined Clarke from Brookhaven College in Dallas Texas in 2011, served as its leader since 2011.
He met Zellweger for the first time at NBC’s Concert of Hope tsunami relief benefit, where she was passing out notes. They quickly became close, becoming close friends and even dating for several months according to People magazine.
Chesney has led Clarke through numerous changes, such as creating an Office of Sustainability, strengthening student-faculty interactions and expanding opportunities for student involvement in campus organizations like The Courier and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
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