Dr. Erwin Thomas



In 2010, Guyanese-born Erwin K. Thomas, PhD–served as vice president of the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) Old Dominion University, Virginia Beach, VA. After 28 years he retired as a professor and director of the Graduate Program in the Department of Mass Communications & Journalism at Norfolk State University, VA. He formerly taught at the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee (1978–79), SUNY–Oswego (1972–74), and University of Guyana, Georgetown (Summers 1981 & 1988).

Thomas did research at the University of Guyana, University of the West Indies–Cave Hill, Barbados; Port of Spain, Trinidad; and Mona, Jamaica. He graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia–Ph.D. International Journalism & Broadcasting (1978), Brooklyn College of CUNY–MS Television (1972), and University of Oregon, Eugene–BS Radio-TV & Film (1970). His doctoral dissertation was entitled, “The Beginnings of Broadcasting in The West Indies, 1920–1949 (Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago).

Thomas was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship (1975–78), awarded a Gannett Foundation Scholarship (1975–76), named by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), a Fulbright Senior Specialists Candidate (2002–07), and was for many years a consultant to the Ministry of Information, Georgetown, Guyana. Thomas was a radio newscaster at KWAX-FM, Eugene, OR (1968–70), producer-director BCTV, Brooklyn, NY (1970–71), desk assistant CBS Radio Network News, NYC (1972), producer-director OSUTV, Oswego, NY (1972–74), news writer Columbia Missourian (1974), reporter KBIA-FM (1975), and KOMU-TV Columbia, MO (1976—77). His six “Plain Talk” series were aired on WSLJ-TV, Watertown, NY (1973–74). Some 20 shows on which he worked in various crew positions while at BCTV, were aired on WNET-TV and WNYC-TV–NYC (1970–72). At Norfolk State University he was news director of WNSB-FM (1980—85).

Thomas has authored Make Better Videos with Your Camcorder (TAB Books 1991); co-edited a Handbook on Mass Media in the United States and Mass Media in 2025, Greenwood Press (1994 & 2001) respectively; A Weekly Encounter (2015), Keys of Faith (2016), Gifts of God (2017), Life’s Passages: From Guyana to America, and Guyana’s Seawall Girl (2018), CreateSpace Independent Platform, and Heaven Bound (2019) with Amazon.com. He is a member of Hampton Roads Writers (HRW), Virginia Writers Club (VWC), and American Academy of Religion (AAR). For years, Thomas was a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), of the International, and Minorities Divisions, and the Religion & Media Interest Group. His research interests are: International media systems, social media, ethics, broadcasting history, devotionals, and world religions & beliefs.

Thomas is a lifelong member of the Church of the Holy Apostles–an ecumenical community of Episcopalians and Roman Catholics, Virginia Beach, VA–where he has served on the Vestry Council, Eucharistic minister, and social media administrator. He is married to Mary Barta Thomas, and they are the parents of Matthew J. Thomas, who lives with his wife Shannon in Charlottesville, VA.

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