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Obituary / Thomas J. Galvin

Thomas J. Galvin
Thomas J. Galvin

Professor Emeritus Thomas J. Galvin, 71, passed away in Chicago on February 18, 2004. Galvin came to the University at Albany in 1989 to implement UAlbany’s doctoral program in information science as its inaugural director. He also served as professor in the School of Information Science and Policy until his retirement in 1999.

During his 10-year tenure as director and professor at UAlbany, Galvin developed a strong campus-wide community of scholars in sponsorship of a unique interdisciplinary program of research in information science. Involving faculty from six academic units at the University and building on close linkages with practicing information professionals, the Ph.D. program produced dozens of graduates, who now bring their research skills to bear on important problems in academic, government, and the private sectors.

He served as executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) from 1985 through 1989. Under his leadership, the ALA increased its membership to more than 50,000, raised its annual revenues, and received grants and contracts totaling more than $3.5 million.

From 1974 to 1985, Galvin was dean of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. During that period, 10 new academic programs, as well as a department of tele-communications, were established. From 1962 to 1972, he held a series of combined faculty and administrative appointments at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, culminating in his being named associate dean and professor.

Galvin held the bachelor’s degree in English with distinction from Columbia University, the master’s in library science from Simmons College, and a doctor of philosophy degree from Case Western Reserve University. He also was the recipient of many awards and honors, including the ALISE Award for Professional Contributions to Library and Information Sciences Education (1993), the Medical Library Association’s Eliot Prize for the most significant contribution to the literature of medical librarianship (1988), and the best information science book of the year by the American Society for Information Science (1979). Long active at the international level, he was appointed in 1980 by the secretary of state to the United States National Commission on UNESCO. Galvin was also the author, co-author, or editor of nearly 20 books and more than 100 published articles and reports.

In addition to being a first-rate scholar, Galvin was a gentle nurturer of people. He once stated, “The greatest source of personal satisfaction for me is in the scholarly and professional career achievements of former students.” For many of the students, faculty, and graduates of the program, Galvin was an exceptional mentor, guide, and visionary. He will be sorely missed.