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  February 3, 2003

Former Provost Tom Tighe Dies After Heart Attack

Thomas J. Tighe, former UConn provost, died Jan. 17 after a heart attack. He was 74.

Tighe was at UConn from 1988 to 1994, where he held the posts of vice president and provost and professor of psychology. He was the first provost at UConn since an administrative reorganization in the 1970s eliminated the position.

Tighe was an excellent chief academic officer, says Harry Hartley, former UConn president, under whom Tighe served. "He was bright, articulate, energetic, and possessed high academic standards. This was reflected in the quality of deans, directors, and professors he hired."

Tighe was credited with helping to guide the institution through its fiscal crisis in the 1990s. He also revised the rules for promotion and tenure to give greater recognition to excellence in teaching, and introduced better training in pedagogy for faculty and graduate students.

"He was the hardest-working person I ever knew, and personally was a great friend and role model," says Fred Maryanski, vice chancellor for academic administration.

Tighe was an active scholar who published four books and recently completed a fifth.

Maryanski describes him as "the quintessential academic dedicated to the advancement of knowledge."

After leaving UConn, Tighe joined the administration of the University of South Florida (USF), serving as provost and executive vice president from 1995 to 2000, and as acting president for several months. He also served as professor and director of the cognitive and neural science program at USF.

Born in Hartford, Tighe earned a bachelor's degree from Trinity College in 1952 and a doctorate in experimental and developmental psychology from Cornell University in 1959. He served in the army during the Korean conflict, receiving the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

An assistant professor at Barnard College from 1960-63, he spent more than 20 years at Dartmouth College, serving as assistant and associate professor, chairman of the psychology department, and associate provost. While on leave from Dartmouth from 1968 to 1969, he held a National Science Foundation Science Faculty Fellowship at Stanford University.

Before joining the UConn administration, Tighe was dean of the School of Human Development at the University of Texas.

Tighe, who lived in Temple Terrace, Fla., is survived by his wife Louise; a daughter, Lisa Cramer; a son Mark Tighe; and two sisters.

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