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Former University of Alabama president dead at 81

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — University of Alabama officials say former President, Joab Thomas, has died at the age of 81.

Thomas of Tuscaloosa and died Monday and his cause of death is unclear. Thomas also served as president of Pennsylvania State University and chancellor of North Carolina State University.

Chancellor of the University of Alabama System Robert Witt says Thomas was at the forefront of higher education, and university officials say he was a three-time graduate of Harvard University.

Thomas served as University of Alabama president for seven years and began serving in that position in 1981.

University of Alabama officials say Thomas helped triple research funding, raise admission and curriculum standards, build economic development initiatives and more.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Christ Episcopal Church in Tuscaloosa.

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