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Dr. John Thornell served as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of North Alabama from 2009-2017.  He will conclude a more than 40-year career in higher education by returning to the classroom as a full-time faculty member in the History Department for 2017-2018 before completing his tenure at the University.  In addition, Dr. Thornell served as Interim President at UNA in 2014-2015.

Prior to his tenure at UNA, he served as the VP for Academic Affairs and Dean at North Carolina Wesleyan College.  However, most of his career was spent at Delta State University, where he began as a faculty member in 1975 and served in multiple positions including Dean of Graduate Students & Continuing Education, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and Interim President.

Throughout his academic career, Dr. Thornell has been an avid scholar authoring books, chapters, articles and numerous presentations as well as grant awards.  He served on several educational and leadership boards including as a Trustee at SACSCOC from 2010-2016 and was recognized for his service to Delta State University being inducted into the University Hall of Fame in 2003.

Dr. Thornell holds a B.S. in Education, Masters in Educational Administration and Masters in History from Delta State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, College of Education in Curriculum/Instruction.  He did external study at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga and the University of Michigan and held memberships in Omicron Kappa Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Mu Delta and Phi Delta Kappa.

Academic excellence, quality in higher education and a passion for mentoring young professionals are hallmarks of his career and make John a perfect fit for Higher Education Leadership Search.

John and his wife, Nita, have one daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Office: 256 239 2305

Cell: 256 275 6961