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SPRINGFIELD — UMass Amherst Springfield Center will be named for former trustee Henry Thomas III in honor of his work within his hometown of Springfield, the University of Massachusetts recently announced.

Thomas was chair of the university’s Board of Trustees for four years from 2012 to 2015, becoming the first person of color to hold this position, the university said in its announcement. He continued to be a member until 2020. During this time, Thomas was also the university’s Building Authority vice chair as well as the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs chair, according to UMass.

In addition to his work with the university, Thomas also lead the Urban League of Springfield as president and CEO prior to his retirement, the organization stated. Through programs that include education, wellness, advocacy and economic support, this organization works to support Springfield’s African American Community, its website states.

The UMass Amherst Springfield Center, located inside Tower Square at 1500 Main St., currently offers multiple programs to students in the area, the university stated. These include TEACH 180 Days in Springfield, a program that combines graduate classes with hands-on teaching, and the Isenberg Master of Business Administration Program, which involves online and in-person experiences. The Accelerated BS in Nursing Program is also available at the Center, enabling students to graduate with a degree in 17 months, UMass said. The center first opened in 2014.

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