Dean Thomas Shanks was the Dean of the Kenneth P. Higgins Institute in the 2016 movie.[1]


Primary Canon

Thomas Shanks took over the position of Dean of College at the Kenneth P. Higgins Institute when the previous dean went to jail.[2] Thomas was unaware of Abby Yates and Jillian Holtzmann's Paranormal Studies Department was still part of the institution. He was surprised to see them when they came to his office with Erin Gilbert and asked for more money. He refused to let the 12-year reputation of the institute to be besmirched by their ghost discovery and fired them both. Abby couldn't believe what he said. She knew full well the Institute didn't have an upstanding reputation and pointed out he became the dean because the previous one went to jail. Shanks took that as an insinuation he wasn't qualified. Abby replied he spelled "science" with a "y" and she didn't think he knew that was wrong. Shanks stated it was an institution of higher learning and if they wanted to study ghosts, they had to do it somewhere else. He ended saying he had two words for them. Erin guessed it was "Get out" but Abby predicted it was "suck it." Erin didn't believe her. Shanks told them to suck it. Erin admitted she was right. Shanks pretended to see a ghost then flipped them the middle finger. He pointed to the door and told them bye. He asked if they could hear him. He spun his hands as if it was a volume knob and whistled as he did. Abby was dismayed by the incredibly immature behavior. Shanks mimicked blowing his hand as if it were a balloon, pretended it blew away, stopped, and flipped them the middle finger again.

Thomas found out the Paranormal Studies Department's equipment was missing. He grabbed a wooden baseball bat and ran to the front door. He demanded the "worthless garbage" back. Abby and Holtzmann admitted to Erin that none of the equipment actually belonged to them. They scattered and bolted as Thomas hurried down the steps after them. After the first incident at The Mercado Hotel and the Blogger Chris Gethard, Fox 5 News spoke with Dean Shanks. He clarified Erin's association with the institute, albeit distant, was a blight on them but he shifted the conversation to his album and announced it was releasing in two weeks. He revealed the name of the album was "I'mma Be Me" and he offered to play the title track.[3] He grabbed his guitar. After the first anchor played a clip with Dean Harold Filmore, the second anchor played the clip with Shanks. The Ghostbusters saw it but before the part where Shanks played his guitar, Abby clicked the TV off in disgust.

Secondary Canon

IDW Comics

Doctor Kruger sent Abby into the Nightmare-Scape and based the surroundings on the Kenneth P. Higgins Institute. He posed as Dean Shanks. In an office, he told Abby there was no funding, ghosts will never be real, and she was fired. Abby insisted ghosts were real and that she was a Ghostbuster. Kruger transformed himself and Abby into a clown, her fear.


  • Thomas Shanks is a nod to John Candy's character on SCTV, Mayor Tommy Shanks, the Mayor of Mellonville.[4]
  • Dean Shanks flipping the bird was a bit borrowed from Steve Higgins' stand up set.[5]
  • Thomas Shanks spells science with a "y" instead of an "i" and thinks that's correct.[6]
  • Shanks released a music album titled I'mma Be Me.
  • In the alternate scene The Dean:
    • Dean Shanks was hosting a school dance at his house.[7]
    • Dean Shanks uses the rapper "izzo" and The Rock's "candy ass" slang.


Primary Canon

Secondary Canon


  1. Fox 5 News Anchor #2 (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 12 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 1:28:16-1:28:x20). Sony Pictures. Fox 5 News Anchor #2 says: "We also spoke with the Dean of the Kenneth P. Higgins Institute."
  2. Abby Yates (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 4 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 00:25:22-00:25:25). Sony Pictures. Abby Yates says: "You're only dean now because the last dean went to jail."
  3. Dean Thomas Shanks (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 12 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 1:28:28-1:28:34). Sony Pictures. Dean Thomas Shanks says: "But, good news, I have an album dropping in two weeks. It's called I'mma Be Me, and I wouldn't mind playing you the title track."
  4. Paul Feig (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition - Writer & Director Commentary (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 00:25:52-00:26:04). Sony Pictures. Paul Feig says: "Oh and a little--for comedy fans, uh, the--his name is Thomas Shanks which was in the old SCTV. John Candy, his mayor character was Mayor Tommy Shanks."
  5. Paul Feig (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition - Writer & Director Commentary (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 00:26:14-00:26:47). Sony Pictures. Paul Feig says: "That's--that's a bit that Steve has been doing since I've known him. We--we've been friends since the mid-80s when we were all stand-up comedians and he could do these long runs of how to give somebody the finger. That was the funniest thing I've ever seen. So when we were on the set, it wasn't in the script, that thing, and then just as we were, y'know, doing that scene so long, I forget if he brought it up or I brought it up or whatever but just like 'Oh, let's do that thing where you just flip someone off.' And it's an extra somewhere on the DVD or one of the versions of extras."
  6. Abby Yates (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 4 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 00:25:27-00:25:33). Sony Pictures. Abby Yates says: "You spell science with an "Y." And what's upsetting about that is… I don't think you know that that's wrong."
  7. Erin Gilbert (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Deleted/Alternate Scenes; (Deleted Scene): The Dean (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 0:00:26-0:00:28). Sony Pictures. Erin Gilbert says: "I saw a poster outside for a school dance at your house."


Primary Canon

Secondary Canon

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