Rob Thornton
Director at Westfield State University
rob thornton
rob thornton
Rob Thornton
Director at Westfield State University
2021 Champion
2021 Champion

Robert Thornton, Ed.D., is the Director of the Urban Education Program at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA, a student support program that provides academic and social assistance to first-generation college students through a college readiness summer program and ongoing advising during the academic year.

Robert spent several years in the foster care system and aged out on his 18th birthday before entering Edinboro University in 2004. During his college years, Robert discovered his passion to support and advocate for first-generation college students through peer mentorship and campus engagement. Before coming to Westfield State University, Robert was employed as a history instructor at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In January 2014, he was hired as an Academic Advisor for the Urban Education Program at Westfield State University.

Today, Robert continues to advocate for foster care alumni through his work with the Treehouse Foundation, the Fostering Student Success Network (FSSN) at Westfield State University, and by highlighting the strengths of foster care alumni who graduated from college in his dissertation, “Strengths from the margin: Foster care alumni and academic behavioral achievement for baccalaureate degree completion.”