• photo- Robert I Thomas

    Robert I. Thomas

    MA (1983)- Russian

    Robert Thomas finished his coursework for the Russian MA in the spring of 1981, attended Moscow State University in the fall of that year, and received his degree in 1983.

    He earned an MBA at Northwestern, then joined First Chicago bank in 1985.  A few years later he joined a new group in the bank serving the then Perestroika USSR, and was involved in setting up joint ventures in Moscow with large corporations.

    After working in Singapore with Case New Holland he was transferred to become CEO of Uzbekistan’s first equipment leasing joint venture, and lived in Tashkent from 1999 until 2001, just after 9/11.  Mr. Thomas tells us, "The air became pretty tense after that and my family and I were transferred out." 

    Of his time in Uzbekistan, he says, " As a former Soviet republic, most Uzbeks in the business or government sector still spoke a lot of Russian—but not fantastic Russian.  Thus, my already rusty language skills seemed to work just fine there.  It was always my dream to live and work in the USSR, and while Uzbekistan was an independent country while I was there,...everything looked, functioned and smelled just like the USSR I remembered in 1982! ... We had a delightful time living there, shopping in the bazaars, etc.  ... I was proud to see that my SUNY education provided me the background I needed to work quite comfortably in Uzbekistan."

    Mr. Thomas spent the first part of his his career living in Asia and Latin America, but says "I’m now a happy corporate drop-out, and own my own home health agency in Fort Myers FL." He added that he would love to hear from his old classmates. His email :

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