Emeritus Professor (April 2011)
Professor Paul Thomas AM was named an Emeritus Professor in April 2011 in recognition of his contributions to the establishment and growth of USC, his contributions to education, and his sustained and distinguished service as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University.
Founding Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the Sunshine Coast, Professor Paul Thomas AM guided the University through its establishment and rapid growth for 16 years from inception until his retirement at the end of 2010. In March 1994 he became Planning President for Australia's newest public university and on the 1st January 1996 he became the inaugural Vice-Chancellor. USC opened as a University College in 1996 with 524 students, two buildings and a choice of two degrees. Its development into a thriving University today is a testament to Professor Thomas’s vision, leadership and energy. Professor Thomas is highly respected in the education, civic, business and community sectors for his strong leadership and visionary qualities and his tireless efforts in realising a university for the region – a University that continues to grow from strength to strength. In 2002 Professor Thomas was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to higher education and on Australia Day 2007 he was honoured with an Order of Australia medal for services to higher education and the establishment of the University of the Sunshine Coast. In 2009 he was the recipient of the Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Leadership Award by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.