Dr. Mamie T. Thorns is SVSU's Chief Diversity Officer. As Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Programs, Dr. Thorns is responsible for providing the leadership and coordination of SVSU's programs related to diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action. She serves as primary adviser to the President and the campus community on matters related to maintaining and enhancing a diverse campus environment.
At SVSU, Dr. Thorns was instrumental in the creation of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute, an SVSU initiative which started in 2005. Over the years, this Institute has grown from serving 51 junior and senior high school students to over 96 students representing Saginaw, Midland and Bay Counties. In addition, Dr. Thorns is co-chair along with the Saginaw, Bay and Midland community foundations for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. She also teaches courses on managing diversity and inclusion at SVSU along with conducting diversity and inclusion training for local, state and national businesses, community organizations, and schools. In her personal time, Dr. Thorns enjoys mentoring underrepresented students and adults in the community who need guidance in making education and career choices.
Dr. Thorns has recently received the YWCA 2013 Women of Achievement Award, as well as the 2012 Live United Community Award by the United Way of Saginaw County for her leadership and contributions to the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute. Other awards have included the Saginaw County Bar Association - Liberty Bell Award (2011), the NAACP Saginaw Branch President's Award (2009), the Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award (2008), and the Reuben Daniels Community Service Award (2007-2008).
A native of Mississippi, Dr. Thorns earned a doctorate of education from Wayne State University, a Master of Arts degree from Ball State University and a Bachelor's degree from Anderson University. She was recently certified as a national Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) from the Institute for Diversity Certification. Thorns is a member of the Phi Delta Kappa Honor Fraternity and The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. She is also actively involved in several community organizations such as Rotary International Club, NAACP Saginaw, Bridge Center for Racial Harmony, Tri-City Chapter, The Links, Inc., the Saginaw Community Foundation, the United Way of Saginaw County, the Saginaw Promise Zone Authority Board, Hidden Harvest Board and the Dow Community Advisory Board.
Dr. Thorns joined SVSU in 2002, and has over 30 years of extensive administrative experience in education.
January 21, 2022 - Mamie T. Thorns, associate vice president and chief diversity officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Saginaw Valley State University has been honored with the MLK Jr. Unity Award by the Iota Chi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, a fraternity that has long been committed to the African-American community’s fight for civil rights. The MLK Jr. Unity Award is one of the highest community awards that the Iota Chi Lambda chapter confers on citizens in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
“It’s an honor to be the recipient of the MLK Jr. Unity Award. I would like to thank the Iota Chi Lambda chapter for this distinguished recognition,” said Thorns. “To be honored in this way on this day allows me to reflect on the years that I have attempted to keep the dream of MLK alive in my own heart and how I’ve unabashedly strived to encourage others to remember and be inspired by his legacy. In my spirit I can hear ringing loudly the resolute words of Dr. King: ‘We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.’”
Smallwood Holoman, a member of the Iota Chi Lambda chapter, said, “We scoured the community to try to identify people who indeed bring service to our community. Dr. Thorns personifies Dr. King’s philosophy.”
Holoman cited Thorns’s involvement with the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Celebration and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Initiative as a few outstanding examples of her service.
Thorns joined SVSU in 2002 and has over 30 years of administrative experience in higher education. In her current role, she leads SVSU’s programs related to diversity, equal opportunity and Title IX. She serves as the primary advisor to SVSU’s president and leads a community-based advisory council that focuses on matters related to maintaining and enhancing a diverse and dynamic campus environment. Thorns chairs SVSU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which advises and implements innovative programs for the campus and the Great Lakes Bay Region.