Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.
Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., was named president of Black Hills State University in 2014, and he has led the University through changes that will greatly enhance the teaching and learning environment and create additional opportunities for students.
Shortly after President Jackson and his family moved to Spearfish, they discovered the strong power of place and the “Spirit of the Hills” honoring the strong American Indian legacy of the region. By combining the area’s heritage with an innovative mindset, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., has connected the University’s legacy with its future in the vibrant micropolitan community of Spearfish, South Dakota.
Dr. Jackson has focused the vision of the University by inspiring faculty, staff and students to dream big and believe that BHSU is a place “Where Anything is Possible.” Similar to many of the students at BHSU, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., was the first in his family to earn a degree. His personal educational experience inspires current students to set goals and seek new possibilities for their futures.
As a veteran, who still serves in the Indiana Guard Reserve, President Jackson, has strengthened the University’s ties with military personnel in the entire state and he is committed to providing educational opportunities for military personnel.
President Jackson’s extensive international experience has opened doors for increased study abroad programs and the addition of new international partners including the first ever with a university on the African continent – in Gaborone, Botswana. An inspirational and motivational speaker, Dr. Tom Jackson is often requested to present at regional, national and international events.
Accomplishments and Initiatives:
Supported undergraduate research opportunities and has advanced research opportunities at the BHSU Underground Campus at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, one of the only underground campuses in the world, providing unique learning opportunities for faculty and students.
Encourages faculty and staff to identify, plan, and implement community service as well as educational and cultural outreach throughout the community, the region, state, the nation and the world.
Created additional educational opportunities in the state’s second largest city, by establishing the BHSU-Rapid City location.
Enhanced opportunities for military education including a reduced tuition pilot program in Rapid City that has now been expanded throughout the state.
Ensured BHSU continued to be recognized nationally for service to military students including designation as Military Friendly Schools by Victory Media, Military Times “Best for Vets for Business Schools,” and the Military Times “Best for Vets: Colleges.”
Instituted four new scholarship programs that provide funding for local students including the Northern Hills Scholarship, Jacket Incentive, Dual Credit and the President’s Medallion scholarship which was created with donations generated from President Jackson’s inauguration.
Increased the number of international partnerships to 23 including the first MOU with a university on the African continent, Botho University in Botswana. Also expanded global service learning opportunities and study abroad options.
Supported the University’s strong legacy of providing educational opportunities for American Indians. BHSU has the largest proportion of Native American students among the South Dakota Regental institutions. Participating in a new Jump Start program to support and encourage new students.
Advanced the University’s sustainable practices. Implemented the first phase of a campus tree revitalization plan and updated the campus’ Climate Action Plan.
Oversaw the opening of the university’s first new residence hall in 50 years, Crow Peak Hall, a new 144 bed student residence. Other campus facility improvements include remodeling Jonas Science to become a science education outreach branch of the Sanford Science Education Center, the Admissions Welcome Center, and the opening of the Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center.
Continues to advance Yellow Jacket NCAA Division II athletics with the addition of two sports - women’s soccer and women’s triathlon. In addition to athletic accolades, BHSU scholar athletes achieved exceptional GPAs. The Rodeo Team men’s and women’s teams both qualified for national competition.
Led the BHSU Foundation and the Yellow Jacket Foundation in raising $7.5 million dollars for the University during his first year as President.
Established a Presidential Fellowship program that offers executive-level leadership experience for academic leaders from across the nation while providing insight and self-study opportunities for the BHSU administrative team.
Prior to leading BHSU, President Jackson served as Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Louisville (KY). While at the University of Louisville, he was instrumental in founding the Symposium for Veterans in Higher Education, which is the event that proceeded the NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students. During that time he also served as the elected President of the American College Personnel Association, a leader in the higher education community providing outreach, advocacy, research, and professional development to foster college student learning.
Dr. Jackson also previously served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Dean of Students at McMurry University (TX), Director of the Student Activities Center at the University of Texas-El Paso, Academic Development Specialist at Cal Poly – San Luis Obiso, Area Coordinator at the University of Southern California, and Assistant Director of Student Life at St. Mary’s University.
Dr. Jackson earned his doctorate in educational management from the University of La Verne (CA), a master’s in counseling/student personnel from Shippensburg University (PA), a bachelor’s degree in business management/personnel from Southwest State University (MN), and an associate’s degree in general studies from Highline Community College (WA). He also participated in Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management in 2005.
President Jackson’s current community engagements include serving in the Indiana Guard Reserve and volunteering as an instrument-rated pilot with Pilots-n-Paws and Animal Rescue Flights. President Jackson is a veteran of the Texas State Guard, the Army National Guard and the United States Coast Guard Reserve.
He and his wife, Mona Kumar Jackson, have two children, Thomas (TJ), 17, and Chandi, 14. The Jacksons previously served as an international student host family. The Jackson family enjoys travel and college sports.