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Charles Thomas Jr.
Hometown: Flint, MI
Program of study: Interdisciplinary Ed.D. in Leadership
Why did you choose Creighton? I chose Creighton for two reasons. First, the principles espoused by Jesuit philosophy are in accord with how I choose to live my life. The concepts of Magis, Cura Personalis, contemplation in action, love, ingenuity, heroism, and commitment to excellence speak to the best of human existence and I wanted to be associated with a University that would push me to do more and become a better person. Secondly, I chose Creighton for my doctoral studies because I received my MS in Organizational Negotiations and Alternative Dispute Resolution from Creighton University's Werner Institute. The faculty and staff were phenomenal. They were helpful, knowledgeable, loving, and good-natured people. My interactions with classmates and the learning experiences gained throughout the MS program were top-notch. When afforded the opportunity to re-engage with the University to pursue my doctorate, it was a no-brainer. I had to do it. I enjoy being a BlueJay.
What made you decide to pursue education in this program? I chose the Ed.D. program in leadership studies because I am fascinated by human nature, organizational behavior, leadership, and the social sciences in general. I wanted to learn about leaders who asked difficult questions and challenged the status quo. I wanted to read about organizations that have enjoyed long-term sustainability because of their leaders and gain insights regarding how to best proceed in times of certainty and when entering uncharted territory. I wanted to immerse myself in a program that would help me grow as a person so that I, in turn, could help others on their journey. I also chose this program because I knew that I would be able to engage in meaningful intellectual discourse with like-minded individuals who would share their personal and professional experiences and challenge me to think differently. I was confident that I would be able to communicate with individuals who would make me want to become a better follower, leader, and person and encourage me to continue along the path I have chosen.
What are your interests outside of graduate school? Outside of graduate school, my interests are spending time with my wife, Manthanee and daughter, Masani, working out, speaking, reading, writing, and having fun. I recently published a memoir titled Scars, Exile, and Vindication, and I participate in speaking engagements focused on the power of passion, persistence, hard work, dedication, resilience, and commitment to excellence as a demonstration of human potential.
What experiences at Creighton have best prepared you for life after Creighton? Engaging with individuals from disparate backgrounds and understanding how to handle issues from a variety of perspectives have been most beneficial. My experiences with classmates and professors at Creighton have further solidified the fact that understanding, compassion, empathy, and a spirit of sincerity are of critical importance when interacting with others. Understanding the aforementioned concepts and employing the skills gained will be advantageous as I communicate and collaborate with others in my personal and professional life.
What is your most memorable experience at Creighton? My most memorable experience at Creighton occurred in August 2011. We were sitting in orientation for the doctoral program and my sister was going through a rough time. I wanted to do something nice for her. Coincidentally, her birthday was that week. I asked the group to sing happy birthday for her and they agreed. Chris Karasek recorded everything and I uploaded the video on YouTube of future doctoral degree holders singing happy birthday to my baby sister. The love, care, concern, and genuine goodness of everyone was greatly appreciated and is my most memorable experience at Creighton.
What is one thing that you have accomplished that makes you proud? Becoming a dad. I love when Masani runs over to show me what she has done, or to ask a questions, or to simply say...I love you, daddy. To know that I have the responsibility to raise a God-fearing, caring, compassionate, and loving little girl is welcomed and well received. I want to make my parents proud. I can't think of a better way to do that than using what they have taught me to raise a thoughtful, appreciative, helpful, and loving daughter.
What have you most enjoyed about your experience at Creighton? I have enjoyed the interactions with classmates and professors. I know it might sound cliché, but I truly do enjoy learning about others, hearing their stories, and watching them grow and build the confidence to try new things without fear of failure. Creighton allows people to feel safe, experiment, improvise, and move beyond their comfort zone to become better people. I enjoy being part of a university family that encourages students to freely pursue their intellectual interests and promotes an environment of exemplary scholarship and love of one's brothers and sisters.
Are you involved in any community service activities? I am involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and an organization known as Let's Help Kids (LHK). The Make-A-Wish foundation's mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. LHK's mission is to help elementary-school aged children whose families are experiencing financial hardship by providing them with special items or experiences that they otherwise could not afford. Both organizations, in addition to speaking at different youth functions, afford me the opportunity to give back and teach my daughter the importance of helping others.
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