For nearly 11 years, UR was under the control of the man behind the curtain – President Thomas Jackson. Our very own Wizard of Oz, he has held a position that mystifies not only the student body, but the faculty and staff as a whole – the title of president.

Prior to his calling to UR in 1993, Jackson led a fascinating life.

Jackson’s story goes further back, with his very own college career.Graduating from Williams College with a bachelor’s in American Studies, Jackson then applied to Ph.D. programs in political science and American studies, business schools, law schools and joint programs in the latter two. After being accepted into each of the above, he decided to go to Yale Law School.

Through a series of surprising events, he found himself teaching at Stanford University, before making a stint at Harvard University. Picking up the deanship at the University of Virginia soon became an achievement that even he could not foresee. This position gave him the proper skills and passion for what was to become his greatest accomplishment yet.

With the smooth cooperation of the faculty, students, staff and a search committee, Jackson and UR soon became one. Following the yellow brick road, he took the role of president, although he wonders if the wizard has so much power at the end of the day. With the instating of the Renaissance Plan, a re-emphasis and significant enhancing of the undergraduate institution took place. Shrinking the student body, emphasizing quality over quantity and the outpouring of creative energy that came out of the faculty, students and staff allowed for a better undergraduate experience.

Other things hardly changed during his reign. The Eastman School of Music was an amazing school when he arrived and it continues to be so. Nonetheless, in order to keep that status, he provided support and structure.

Having a behind-the-curtains job has proven to be quite time consuming. Jackson is up at 5 a.m. every morning to exercise and then spends time with his family. For years, he practically lived across the hall from Vice President Paul Burgett, sharing lunches, laughs and stories when their schedules allowed. Though he is stepping down as president, his presence on campus will still be strong as he intends to continue teaching at UR.

As Jackson sat with his spring-like pastel shirt and tie, he seemed reminiscent of not only what he has done for UR, but what UR has done for him. When asked about Thomas Jackson Way – a street named after him by Strong Medical Center – he simply responded that it was “cute.” Though a building will probably not be named after him in the near future, his mission statement and legacy will continue to be seen through the future of the university.

In retrospect, our very own wizard of UR is in fact just another man. You’ll surely be missed, TJ.



UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

Yellowjackets baseball beat Hamilton College on Tuesday and RIT on Friday to the scores of 11–4 and 7–4, respectively.

UR Softball continues dominance with sweeps of Alfred University and Ithaca College

The Yellowjackets swept Alfred University on the road Thursday, winning both games by a score of 5–4.

Gaza solidarity encampment: Live updates

The Campus Times is live tracking the Gaza solidarity encampment on Wilson Quad and the administrative response to it. Read our updates here.