Thomas M. Macon
Mr. Macon founded The Level Playing Field® (“LPF”) in 1998. https://lpfcorp.com/ LPF’s name bears its mission which is to ‘level the playing field’ of opportunity for adult learners by facilitating unfettered access to a quality college education (i.e. authentic “open admission”) for anyone who expresses sincere desire to earn a college degree.
LPF’s mission was informed by Tom’s personal experience as an employee of large multinational corporations and by managing his own businesses. Both as employee and business owner, Tom witnessed vast limitations and lack of career opportunities for people who didn’t have a college degree. Bright, determined, hard-working individuals didn’t have much chance for upward mobility because they lacked the essential credential to prosper in a 21st Century Knowledge Economy – a college degree.
Grantham University, then 50-years-old and founded by a WWII Veteran in 1951 to serve fellow Veterans (Serving Those Who Serve™) was the academic platform LPF acquired in November 2000 to fulfill its mission.
Fast forward two decades – with LPF’s investment, Grantham University, today 70 years old and fully online, has earned first-rate academic credentials and graduated over 30,000 adult students, most from historically underserved communities and first-generation college families. The ‘playing field’ has indeed been ‘leveled’ and lives have been transformed.
It is LPF’s intention that the thousands of individual success stories over the past twenty years serve as incontrovertible evidence a high-quality/low-cost college degree delivered completely online is viable and can serve the greater good. These successes mark the beginning of Grantham University’s next chapter to serve more people in need, particularly those who need a second or third chance – having some college credit but lacking a college degree. Grantham University and Tom have been recipients of national and local awards in recognition of the work The Level Playing Field® has done helping others.
Prior to LPF, Tom founded a specialty retail company that grew to multiple locations and employed a large number of people who didn’t have a college degree. Working side-by-side these praiseworthy people served as further motivation for Tom, after he sold his company, to turn his attention to try to help solve the problem of democratizing college education by making it both affordable and accessible through the use of technology.
Prior to 1990, Tom held a variety of sales and sales management positions with the Coca-Cola Foods Company, ConAgra Foods, and Mutual of Omaha.
Tom currently serves on the board of directors of The Friends of the Uniformed Services University Medical School (https://www.friendsofusu.org/board/). He and his wife Deborah have two terrific adult children, two beautiful grandchildren and when not spending time with family and friends, each serves on boards of organizations that are grounded in mission to serve others.