The Fort Hays State University community will bid a sad farewell to Dr. Tom Jackson, who has served the university in many capacities over the last three decades, on Aug. 4.
Jackson first came to FHSU in 1976 as an assistant professor of psychology. He earned a full professorship eight years later. He has served as chair of the Department of Psychology and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Six years ago, he was selected Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and Vice Provost of Academic Affairs.
"Tom Jackson has devoted many years of service to FHSU in several roles and programs and always performed with enthusiasm and commitment," said Dr. Larry Gould, provost.
"I came here because of the professional atmosphere in the psychology department and stayed because I was able to do the research I wanted to do, teach classes I wanted to and be a professor at Fort Hays with very few hindrances," Jackson said. "I had opportunities to go other places, but they couldn't match the freedom and collegiality that we have here at Fort Hays.
"When I first started as a professor, I rode a bike to work and I couldn't pedal fast enough. I couldn't wait to come to work," he said. "I've had great colleagues, a great staff and great experiences."
During the last 30 years, Jackson has accumulated many memories -- of people, places, awards and the atmosphere of FHSU in general. Many mornings he has enjoyed a stroll through the Quad.
"I remember walking across the Quad early one morning and realizing this is what an educational atmosphere should be," he said. "It's absolutely perfect in the morning. You go from the noise of the outside to the quietness of the Quad -- it's a very scholarly atmosphere."
Jackson, himself, has greatly contributed to the scholarly atmosphere of the university. He played a primary role in designing Martin Allen Hall as the renovated home of the Psychology Department and was instrumental in increasing stipends for graduate teaching assistants.
"Losing Tom Jackson is like losing your star relief pitcher on a baseball team. He's played so many critical roles and done such a great job. He is the person I have turned to inside the family to get things done," said FHSU President Edward H. Hammond. "He has been one of those people we've asked to take on responsibilities, and not just in leadership roles but in committee work, and he's always gotten the job done for us."
FHSU has honored Jackson with several awards. He was named President's Distinguished Scholar in 2001, received the Pilot Award in 1997 and was a finalist for the Navigator Award in 1998.
"Tom Jackson is one of the great people of the university. He has been an exemplary instructor and researcher," said Dr. Paul Faber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "In administrative discussions, he has always been the voice of reason -- in fact, a very straightforward voice of reason."
"He is well-known for his directness, and yet he has the rare ability to offer criticism in a way that no one finds offensive," said Kent Steward, director of University Relations. "People have such confidence in his knowledge and his sincerity that they actually seek out his counsel."
"I have an immense respect for Dr. Jackson because of his ability to tell you something as honestly as he possibly can," said Dr. Chris Crawford, assistant provost for quality management. "He has always been a wonderful friend and a thoughtful source of information."
Jackson and his wife, Eileen, are moving to Pocatello, Idaho, where Jackson has accepted the position of Dean of Graduate Studies at Idaho State University.
"This is a new exciting adventure for my wife and me. Not that we are unhappy here. This just arrived -- we weren't out looking," said Jackson. "It was an opportunity that came up and was perfect and I was qualified because of Fort Hays. Fort Hays prepared me for it. We are going to miss the town and the university and the wonderful friends. Fort Hays has been wonderful to us."