Raymond Thomas ‘00 M’03 D’11
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Raymond Thomas ‘00 M’03 D’11 came to RMU in 1996 as a football recruit, and stuck around long enough to get three degrees, including a doctorate. Thomas, a resident of the city's Manchester neighborhood, takes pride in his success after making the trip to Moon Township from Jamaica, Queens. "I want to show everybody who may not start school the traditional route that hard work and resilience can get you through," he says.
That is an important lesson for the people he serves as the director of child and family services and program quality improvement at A Second Chance. The East Hills-based nonprofit provides training, counseling, and a variety of other social services to people involved in "kinship care" — relatives or close family friends who provide foster homes for children who have been removed from their home. Thomas says his the top priority is to see the children they work with find a safe, secure, nurturing environment where they can thrive, and placing them in a permanent home.
Thomas played strong safety for the Colonials, and was known as "Smoke" because of his speed. A member of the Colonials Hall of Fame, Thomas led the team to an undefeated season in 2000, when he was voted defensive MVP, and the team won three championships during his tenure. Aside from football, Thomas was also a member of Phi Beta Sigma, serving different leadership roles and providing community service to Allegheny County. In addition, he was president of the Black Student Union, developed the first fashion show at RMU, was involved in student ministries, and was crowned "Mr. RMU" two times.
Thomas says he loves coming back to campus to see how things are changing. He was especially excited about the inauguration of President Chris Howard. Universities should always strive to reach out to those in minority groups and inner city schools, he says, and hold open doors for those who have been underrepresented.
- Written by Kayla Carbert