Shaw University Announces Ms. Shinica Thomas, Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, as Guest Speaker for the 2023 Fall Opening Convocation

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Shaw University Announces Ms. Shinica Thomas, Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, as Guest Speaker for the 2023 Fall Opening Convocation

The official welcome ceremony for first year students at Shaw University is an event filled with excitement and encouragement. As the Fall semester begins, the President takes the stage to deliver a heartfelt charge to the freshmen class, inspiring them to embrace their time at the institution of higher learning.

This gathering marks the first formal occasion for these new students, and it is a truly special moment as they witness the President and faculty dressed in full regalia. The administrative staff also has the option to dress in regalia, adding to the celebratory atmosphere.

This ceremony sets the tone for a transformative college experience, where students are supported and encouraged to reach their full potential.

With Guest Speaker :

Ms. Shinica Thomas
Chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners 

Shinica Thomas is a revered advocate and dedicated community leader with an unwavering commitment to enhancing the quality of life in Wake County. Wake County voters elected her to serve as the district 6 commissioner in 2020, and her fellow commissioners elected her to serve as the Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners for 2023. She has also served as chair for the Economic Development Committee and the Great Government Committee.

With a diverse background as the daughter of West Indian immigrants, an Army brat and Air Force wife, Chair Shinica Thomas brings a unique perspective to her endeavors in making the county a better place to live, work, and play for all residents.

Chair Thomas mostly recently served as the Director of Advocacy and Educational Partnerships for Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, the local council that spans 40 counties in central and eastern North Carolina. Her role in this 110-year-old organization allowed her to foster positive change and provide valuable opportunities for the 26,000 girls under her guidance.

Chair Thomas’s dedication to service is also reflected in her extensive community engagement and volunteerism. She has served her community in an advisory role on the YMCA of the Triangle Financial Service Board, and with the Heather Heyer Foundation Board, which supports individuals dedicated to creating positive social change. After years of service and community involvement, Chair Thomas was appointed to the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service by Governor Roy Cooper in 2019.

In 2022, Thomas had the honor of contributing to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ Connecting Counties Presidential Initiative. The task force is addressing the critical issue of broadband internet accessibility and data fluency, one of Chair Thomas’s priorities as a commissioner. Additionally, Chair Thomas serves on a National Association of Counties work group focused on exploring the implications of artificial intelligence within local governments, underscoring her dedication to being at the forefront of technological advancements.

As a first-generation college graduate, Chair Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fayetteville State University and a master’s degree in government from Regent University. In the summer of 2023, Chair Thomas was selected to further her leadership education by attending the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State & Local Government program.

Having experienced life in many parts of the world as a military child and Air Force wife, she proudly considers Wake County, North Carolina, her home for the last two decades. She is happily married to Raymond Thomas, her high school sweetheart, and together they have raised two sons, Rahsaan and Khalid. Rahsaan is studying to be a paramedic. Khalid is a recent Harvard College graduate and member of the 10,000 Men of Harvard football team.

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