Michael Thomas

Helping students find their place

Michael Thomas has a passion for LaGrange College, and that serves him well as Director of Admisson. Thomas '05 says he enjoys sharing his love for his alma mater with potential students and their parents.

"This is a community where you're going to be challenged," he says. "But you as a student are going to be heard, you're going to have a voice. Faculty, administration and staff are not only going to know your name, they are going to know your personal story. They are going to listen to you, they are going to hear you, they are going to be there for you."

What is distinctive about LaGrange, says Thomas, is that it lives up to expectations.

"We send out all these publications that talk about the great things that are said about us, such as U.S.News & World report consistently naming us one of the top 10 best colleges in the region, and as a 'great school at a great price.' But when the families come for a visit, they see that we are who we say we are. Often that is a defining moment for a lot of families. I love the fact that at the end of the day, we are genuine, and the families sense that."

More important, he says, is the assurance he wants parents and students to have.

"We don't want students to come in the door and be here for a semester or a year and be gone. We're committed to seeing them through this process. We are very much invested in the success of our students."
Thomas, a native of Gary, Ind., says the college is very intentional in its commitment to transforming the lives of its students, and two new initiatives support that.

"We have a study-away commitment for incoming freshman," he says. "We're definitely broadening our global reach, and we want to ensure that every student has a chance to study away. We've gone to places like Costa Rica, Japan, Ireland, Italy, Greece. It's a great thing for these students to know that in their junior or senior year, they will receive a $2,500 voucher to go toward a study-away experience."

Those trips help students feel a broader connection to the world.

"The economy isn't just limited to what is happening domestically, but we are impacted by what is happening in Europe. So understanding that we are more and more global, the college is committed to ensuring that our students also are connected that way."

Also new to the college is the Servant Scholars Program, which will begin this fall and is for juniors and seniors. As students reach their sophomore year, they are able to apply for the initiative.

"If they are chosen, they are allowed to stay in the fabulous new apartments that have been generously donated to us by the Callaway Foundation," Thomas says. "Basically, this will be a collaborative effort of those individuals working with agencies in or around LaGrange, whether it is mentoring programs, Habitat for Humanity or United Way."

The purpose is to get the participants together to study and to serve, as well as to think about how the college community can make a bigger impact in the LaGrange community.

"It's a really great thing because it relates to the type of student that we have here, and how we're trying to get them to see the big picture. The Servant Scholars Program is definitely going to do that."

However a student chooses to become involved at LaGrange College, the goal is always the same.

"We talk about transforming lives here," he says. "Understanding that, in coming here, you are empowered to try to transform the lives of others as well. That's meaningful."

Learn through relationships

LaGrange College professors and advisers are approachable, accessible and available. They encourage you to explore your possibilities and focus on your individual passions.

In a recent National Survey of Student Engagement, LaGrange ranked high for active and collaborative learning. Not surprising, given that our students live in a hands-on environment, with faculty making every effort to involve them in their scholarly work and research projects.

Here, you will learn from the best. More than 80 percent of our full-time faculty members hold the highest degrees in their fields. Whether your interests lie in the arts, science, business—or anything in between—there’s a path of study waiting for you here. And our accomplished, engaging faculty will guide you along the way.