Tighe, former USF provost, dies at 74
By BABITA PERSAUD, Times Staff Writer
TAMPA -- Thomas J. Tighe, a former University of South Florida provost who served briefly as acting president, died Wednesday following a heart attack.
He was 74 years old.
"He was an outstanding academician and a provost at a time when academic programs grew," said former USF president Betty Castor, who named Mr. Tighe provost and executive vice president in 1995.
An avid swimmer, Mr. Tighe's energy spilled into his daily work.
"He would call you up and say, "Do you have a minute,' and before you knew it, you would be on the phone with him for at least a half hour," said David Stamps, USF's current provost.
Born Dec. 30, 1928, in Hartford, Conn., Mr. Tighe, the son of Irish immigrants, received a doctorate in psychology from Cornell University in 1959.
He taught psychology for about 20 years, mostly at Dartmouth College. Before coming to USF, he was provost of the University of Connecticut for seven years. At USF, Mr. Tighe served as provost and executive vice president from 1995 to 2000.
He was known for listening to students. During one session, Mr. Tighe got an earful about campus parking problems, which are not typically a provost's concern. That impressed one communications major, who said, "He heard us."
Mr. Tighe served for several months as acting president when Castor resigned. He was a candidate for president when Judy Genshaft was selected in 2000.
After stepping down as provost in 2000, Mr. Tighe, who lived in Temple Terrace with his wife, Louise, become professor and director of the cognitive and neural science program at USF. He suffered the heart attack several days ago while in his office.
Mr. Tighe is survived by his wife, Louise; a daughter, Lisa Cramer; a son, Mark Tighe; and two sisters, who live in Hartford.
-- Times staff writer Shannon Breen contributed to this report.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times
local news desks