Charles Thomas Jr., MS’09, EdD’14, was taught to lead a life with purpose. While growing up in Flint, Michigan, his parents, Charles Sr., and Doris Thomas, instilled within Thomas a set of core values that he lives by to this day as he continually challenges himself to do more.
“The counsel they give is pure wisdom,” Thomas said. “They lead by example and are servants to many, people have always gravitated towards my mother and father.”
Thomas carried with him to Creighton University his values for service to others, accountability, a strong work ethic, and a passion for life-long learning. In 2009, he earned his master’s degree in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, and in 2014, an Ed.D. in leadership. Thomas says that Creighton University gave a name to his personal ideals.
“I wasn’t aware of Magis and the Jesuit mission, until Creighton,” Thomas said. “I wouldn’t trade my Creighton education for anything. The idea of setting the world on fire, that’s serious business to me.”
In February, with his family by his side, Thomas was awarded the 2020 Alumni Merit Award from the Graduate School for his powerful community engagement and dedication to education. The Alumni Merit Award recognizes outstanding alumni whose leadership touches and enriches the lives of others.
Thomas lives in Virginia with his wife, Manthanee, and their two children. He is the CEO and co-founder of Clear Cloud, a flourishing cloud engineering company that offers specialized cloud services to Intelligence Community customers. He serves as vice chairman for the Shelter House board of directors; teaches life skills classes to men who are incarcerated and preparing for societal re-entry; volunteers as a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation; and served a four-year tenure as chairman of the board for OAR Nova, a nonprofit restorative justice organization in Fairfax, Virginia.
For Thomas, there are no limitations because, he says, he is not afraid to fail. “No one has ever been criticized for putting in the effort. My parents always taught me the importance of ‘showing up.’”
At Creighton, Thomas serves as a board member on the Graduate School’s Alumni Advisory Board and National Alumni Board and is an adjunct professor at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Thomas meets people where they are, endeavors to fully understand them and approaches community challenges through creative storytelling, education, leadership development, and interpersonal connections. And, as his parents did for him, he demonstrates for his own children limitless possibilities and teaches values to help guide them to a purpose-driven life.
“The Jesuits teach us that the whole world is our house,” Thomas said. “I’ve shared this with my children, but use an analogy from that scene in “The Lion King,” when Mufasa tells his son, ‘Everything the light touches is our kingdom,’ I know they can relate to that.”