Tom Mahoney ’70, of Hancock, was the creator and founding director of the Grants Development Office at the University of Minnesota, Morris. During his 25-year tenure, average grant awards rose sixfold, to nearly $1 million per year in public and private funds.
Mahoney—beloved for his sense of humor and amiable personality—worked with faculty to develop and write research grant proposals. He also helped obtain and manage funds to support many special projects, among them the Violence Prevention and Response Program, the AIDS Memorial Quilt exhibit, the biomass gasification plant, and the campus’s historic building preservation efforts.
Mahoney’s work sparked a turning point in Morris’s early history, says Elizabeth Blake, vice chancellor and dean emeritus. In 1982, he helped the college win a U.S. Department of Education grant to strengthen the curriculum, leading to national recognition.
Mahoney grew up near Belle Plaine and earned a bachelor of arts with distinction in psychology from Morris. As a student, he co-founded the UMM Drug Information Center. He also worked as a researcher for Psychology Professor Eric Klinger’s Project on Fantasy, co-authoring one of the project’s first publications, a book chapter published in 1976.
Mahoney, who retired in 2009, has received the Exemplary Adult Educator Award from the Minnesota Association of Continuing Adult Education, the Outstanding Civil Service Award, and the inaugural University of Minnesota, Morris Academic Staff Award.
“Tom Mahoney has served his campus and his community at the highest level with great care, skill and heart,” says Sandy Olson-Loy, vice chancellor for student affairs at Morris. “His belief in the promise of the University of Minnesota, Morris and his dedication to helping the campus realize the best of our vision and mission are unrivaled.”