Centre News

Getting to know...the Alumni Office’s Jacky Thomas


February 10, 2011
Thomas Director of annual giving Jacky Thomas
1. Position at Centre?
Director of annual giving

2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
Greenville, Ky.—it makes Danville look like a metropolis.

3. What are your hobbies?
Watching and/or playing any sport, reading multiple books at a time and spending quality time with my family and friends

4. What is your dream vacation?
Spending all day, every day on a beach with a huge stack of chick lit. by my side

5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
Claude Monet—I bought some of his very impressive replicas at the Centre College poster sale during my freshman year.

6. Favorite novel or poem?
I’m an English major, so it’s impossible to pick just one. Among my favorites are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Empire Falls by Richard Russo and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

7. Favorite sport (to watch or play)?
Basketball…and I’m quickly turning into a huge football fan.

8. Favorite TV show?
I like to go old school—The Nanny and The Golden Girls

9. Favorite album?
I grew up with an older sister who loves rock music, so I’d have to go with the greatest hits collections of Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses. It’s also hard to go wrong with any album by Reba McEntire. Eclectic taste, huh?

10. Favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving—all of the food with only an ounce of the stress

11. Favorite food?
Macaroni and cheese

12. Most prized possession?
Handwritten notes from my grandmother. Every single Wednesday for four straight years of college, I had a note from my grandmother waiting for me in my campus mailbox.

13. Three people, living or deceased, who you’d invite to the same dinner party?
My grandmother—because I miss her more and more every day;
Betty White—she gets invited to do everything else, so why not?;
JFK—he’s one of the most fascinating political figures to me…and I’m pretty sure my grandmother had a crush on him.

14. Favorite aspect of your job?
Knowing that I’m raising money that will help students find a home at Centre

15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
I started playing softball competitively when I was six, and my team started intensive traveling for tournaments from the time I was about eight years old until the summer I turned 18. A core group of us played together every weekend, every summer, every year for 10 years, and our families morphed into one huge family. Spending that quality time with my family—both nuclear and extended—is something that will stay with me forever.

16. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre?
You can work somewhere else?! The thought never really occurred to me. If I had to choose, though, I’d probably work in publishing/editing.

17. Educational experience that's been most helpful to you?
I’ll quote Mark Twain on this one: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” I learned just as much at Centre outside the classroom as in. The faculty and staff helped me mature and grow as an individual, not just as a student.

18. Fictional character in whose shoes you’d love to spend a day?
Oprah—people claim she’s real, but I’m not sure how she can pull off everything she does.

19. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
The lawn in front of Crounse Hall. From that spot, there is no denying that you are on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country.

20. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
Don’t give up! Saying that my first semester at Centre was a struggle would be an understatement. I was challenged academically for the first time, I was homesick beyond belief and playing basketball competitively only added to the stress of the two aforementioned items. I begged my parents to let me transfer at Christmas, but they encouraged me to stick it out the entire year. I’ll forever be indebted to them for that decision. By the end of spring semester, I never wanted to leave…so I didn’t! Thirteen years later, I’m still here!

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail Leigh Cocanougher with your feedback.



Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and has named Centre No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South for two years in a row. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices.
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