Thomas Returns to ISyE as Interim Chair

Mike Thomas, ISyE Chair

Dr. Michael “Mike” Thomas, former chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of
Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) and former provost of Georgia Tech, has been
appointed interim chair for ISyE beginning July 1, 2010. Thomas, who served as ISyE’s third
chair from 1978 to 1989, will fill the position being vacated by Chelsea C. “Chip” White until a
permanent chair is in place.

“I am grateful that Mike Thomas has agreed to take on the responsibility of leading the H. Milton
Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering as interim chair in order to assure a
smooth transition through the upcoming search for a new school chair,” said Don Giddens, Dean
of the College of Engineering. “I know that his faculty colleagues will work closely with him to
ensure that we maintain and build on the momentum ISyE has established. We are incredibly
fortunate to have a person of this caliber step in to this position.”

Former Chair

Dr. Thomas has extensive knowledge of the teaching and research initiatives and has a good
rapport with the faculty, staff, and students at ISyE as well as from across the campus. “When
Mike was ISyE school chair, he brought in and retained key faculty members and placed an
emphasis on developing a strong research program that helped propel the Stewart School to the
role of national prominence it maintains today,” said White. “We are delighted to have him back
with us.”

Thomas also strengthened connections with ISyE alumni. His efforts brought ISyE its first
endowed chair, the A. Russell Chandler III Chair, which he later used to attract George
Nemhauser, one of the premier operations research faculty in the Unites States, to Georgia
Tech. Thomas also recruited ISyE’s second endowed chair, the Coca-Cola Chair, held then and
now by Ellis Johnson. And it was during his tenure that the ISyE Alumni Advisory Board was
formed to help guide the Stewart School.

Work & Education

In 1989, Thomas joined the President’s office at Georgia Tech as acting executive vice
president, responsible for overseeing Tech's academic restructuring, which resulted in the
formation of three new colleges and numerous new degree programs. In addition, he helped to
oversee the implementation of many of these degree programs; created new promotion, tenure
and reappointment standards; and managed the Institute's budgeting process. In 1996 his title
was changed to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, overseeing all academic and
most administrative areas. Thomas retired in 2002, but came out of retirement to serve as
interim chair of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering while a search
was underway for a new chair.

Thomas received a BSChE and MSChE from the University of Texas-Austin. In 1965, he
received his Ph.D. in operations research from Johns Hopkins University. He was also president
of the Operations Research Society (now INFORMS) and elected as a fellow of INFORMS and
AIIE.