Major General (Ret.) Richard W. Thomas, will join three of his fellow West Virginia University graduates as this year’s inductees into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni at the Erickson Alumni Center May 17 at 6 p.m.
Receiving one of the highest honors awarded to WVU graduates, Dr. Thomas, Barbara Sayre Casey, Nancy Davenport and Fred Tattersall will join the likes of Jerry West and Katherine Johnson in the Academy.
Major Thomas has been described as a visionary leader whose service and dedication to the United States has left an immeasurable and lasting impact.
Dr. Thomas earned an undergraduate degree in biological science from West Virginia University, a Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the WVU School of Dentistry and a Medical Degree from the WVU School of Medicine.
He also holds a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, is board certified in Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, is a fellow of the American College of Surgery.
After 26 years of service, Thomas retired as a Major General from the United States Army where he commanded at multiple levels and served in several key staff positions culminating as the Director of Healthcare Operations and the Chief Medical Officer for the Defense Health Agency.
Thomas has also served as Commanding General, Western Regional Medical Command; Surgeon General, USFORCES- Afghanistan; Assistant Army Surgeon General and Chief of the U.S. Army Medical Corps and has deployed numerous times in support of combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Panama.
Thomas has been recognized with numerous awards and decorations including: Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Murtha Memorial Award for Leadership in Military Medicine, the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s Board of Director’s Award and American Academy of Pain Medicine Philipp M. Lippe Award.
Currently serving as the sixth president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Thomas upholds the academic, research and service mission of the university while integrating emerging technologies and treatments into the University’s graduate health professions in support of the Military Health System and the Department of Defense. In addition, under his leadership, USU became the first U.S. organization to be recognized with the Dominique-Jean Larrey Award, NATO’s highest honor for medical support.