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GMC Remembers the Life of Carolyn Thomas

Georgia Military College Remembers the Life of Carolyn Taylor Thomas

Georgia Military College is deeply saddened by the passing of Carolyn Taylor Thomas. The Milledgeville native was GMC’s first female African American Board of Trustee member and served for more than 25 years.

“Carolyn Thomas is a historic figure at Georgia Military College,” said Lieutenant General, USA (Ret.), William B. Caldwell, IV., President of Georgia Military College. “We are profoundly grateful for her service to GMC, and the part she played in moving this institution forward to be more inclusive and diverse. She is an inspiration for future generations, and her legacy will forever live on here at Georgia Military College.”

In 1989, the citizens of Milledgeville elected Thomas to serve on the GMC Board of Trustees, where she did so as a member, Chairperson of the Junior College Education Committee, Secretary and Treasurer, advisor to two Chairmen of the Board, and three Presidents of the College. 

During her tenure, GMC was twice reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and expanded its outreach from fewer than 1,000 students in 1982 to more than 8,000 students in 2013. Additionally, the college was restored to exemplary financial health—and prospered. In cooperation with other trustees, GMC eliminated all deferred maintenance, added new structures, and renovated or rebuilt every building on the Milledgeville campus and leased state-of-the-art facilities to five campuses and three extension centers at the time. In 2014, Thomas was made a Georgia Military College Trustee Emeritus.

Thomas’ service to her community went beyond Georgia Military College. When Thomas graduated from Spellman College and the Clark Atlanta University School of Social Work, she took postgraduate courses at Case Western Reserve University School of Social Work as well as American Sign Language at Cleveland State University. She then went onto become a Licensed Social Worker in Ohio and worked in social services there until 1986 when she returned to her home of Milledgeville.

Thomas wasted no time getting reacquainted with her community, working tirelessly to help others. Thomas served as a member of the Boys & Girls Club, Allied Arts, Old Capitol Kiwanis Club, and Court Appointed Special Advocacy Group. She had a lifetime membership in the NAACP and SCLC, was a charter member of Georgia’s Antebellum Capital Museum, and Learning in Retirement at Georgia College. She also holds membership in the Sallie Ellis Davis Club of Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs of Georgia and AARP State Legislative Committee. Her organizational affiliations continued in the areas of care for handicapped and the elderly, parenting and partnering programs, and predatory lending.

To say Thomas served unselfishly would be an understatement. Georgia Military College is eternally grateful for her service to the GMC and Milledgeville community. She will be missed by many, but she will always be remembered as a pillar of inspiration by all.