Glen A. Thomas, a national expert on college admissions and a former director of undergraduate admissions at the Johns Hopkins University, died at his home in Phoenix in Baltimore County on Jan. 14 of pneumonia. He was 72.
Mr. Thomas was born in Newark, N.J., to Clarence W. Thomas, an electrical engineer, and Betty Smith Thomas, a registered nurse.
Mr. Thomas was a 1963 graduate of Jonathan Dayton Regional High School in Springfield, N.J., where he served as student council president.
Even though Mr. Thomas was born with spina bifida, he overcame the condition to become a member of the track team in both high school and in college at Upsala College in East Orange, N.J. He served on Upsala’s board of trustees shortly after he graduated in 1967.
After he graduated from Upsala with a bachelor’s degree in English, he was hired to be an assistant director of admissions there before moving to Johns Hopkins in 1968.
At Johns Hopkins, he became the deputy director before his appointment to the directorship of admissions and academic services.
Ross Jones, vice president and secretary emeritus at Johns Hopkins, worked with Mr. Thomas during the ’70s.
“No one understood the intricacies of college admissions and financial aid matters more than Glen Thomas did,” said Mr. Jones.
“His wise counsel benefited thousands of students and parents over the years. He was just very knowledgeable about the ends and outs of college admissions,” Mr. Jones added. “He was personable. He was always very responsible and receptive to people’s needs.”
At Johns Hopkins, Mr. Thomas also met his eventual wife, Christie Holmes Jaeger, who worked in the financial aid office.
“They were working in close proximity,” said Mr. Thomas’ sister, Susan Thomas Miller of Red Bank, N.J. “They clicked. They were soul mates.”
Mr. Thomas and his wife raised and trained English springer spaniels in agility. They also enjoyed traveling and sailing — going on journeys along the Chesapeake and to the Caribbean.
“They both loved dogs and sailing,” Mrs. Miller said. “Most of their trips revolved around sailing with their friends.”
His wife died in 2010. They were married for 29 years.
After leaving Johns Hopkins in 1979, Mr. Thomas founded G.A. Thomas Associates, where he specialized in enrollment management consultation with more than 75 colleges and universities. Mr. Thomas also worked as interim dean of admissions at Hood College in Frederick from 2005 to 2007. He also served on the staffs of the Oldfields School in Sparks and St. Timothy's School in Stevenson. He was interim dean of enrollment at SEA Education Association in Woods Hole in Massachusetts from 2007 to 2010. Most recently, he was the interim vice president for enrollment management at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts from 2013 to 2015.
Most of Mr. Thomas’ life revolved around education.
“He was always interested in education. He would randomly go to school board meetings,” Mrs. Miller said. “I was a teacher and I asked him why he would just go to a school board meeting. He had a totally different outlook. He was very interested in what was going on in the schools. He was a concerned citizen.”
Mr. Thomas served on the board of directors for the Greater Jacksonville Association in northern Baltimore County starting in 2003. From 2005 to 2006, he was Jacksonville’s liaison with Exxon Mobil and the Maryland Department of Environment following the Exxon Mobil gasoline leak in Jacksonville. He was a four-time president of the association. In fact, at the time of his death, Mr. Thomas was serving another term as president.
Mr. Thomas helped to found ABC Schools, a coalition of education advocacy group in Baltimore County Public Schools. He also was on the board of trustees of the Wakefield School in The Plains, Va.
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Mrs. Miller fondly remembers her older brother — especially the summer vacations their family took to their grandparents’ home on Lake Hopatcong in the northwest part of New Jersey. The two were 14 months apart. They talked every day by phone, she said.
“We talked about everything — whether it was the stock market or the noise my car was making. He was so smart,” she said. “He knew something about everything. He was an avid reader and researcher. He was a very curious, inquisitive person.”
Mr. Thomas also loved trains, according to Mrs. Miller.
“He was an excellent and inventive cook, loved woodworking and tinkering and was known for his dry and puckish sense of humor,” she said.
A memorial service will be held on at 11 a.m. on March 24 at St. James Episcopal Church in Monkton. His ashes will be interred at the church — beside those of his wife and four English springer spaniels: Alec, Hunter, Charlotte and Andy.