Maxine Thomas is vice president and general counsel for the Kettering Foundation, and secretary for the foundation’s board of directors. In 2022, she was named director of international programs and is poised to lead an expansion of the foundation’s international work in this moment of rising authoritarianism around the globe.
Thomas also directs Kettering projects in higher education, community leadership, and the relationship between citizens and officeholders. She is a coeditor of Deliberative Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for Democratic Engagement, published by Michigan State University Press. She also serves on the group that oversees the operations of the foundation and has been a member of the Kettering Foundation task force on China since 1993. She captured insights from the foundation’s decades of work with the Institute of American Studies in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in China-United States Sustained Dialogue: 1986-2001 and in her article, “Kettering and China: Thirty Years and Counting,” in the foundation’s flagship periodical Connections.
Before coming to the Kettering Foundation, Thomas was associate dean of the University of Georgia School of Law, where she also served as associate and assistant professor. She was previously on the faculty of the University of Oregon School of Law and a Fulbright lecturer at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, from 1988-1989. She served on the Fulbright Association Board from 1991-2000 and was a Kellogg Foundation National Fellow in 1985. From 1973 to 1976, Thomas was assistant attorney general for the state of Washington.
Thomas received her BA and her JD from the University of Washington.