Thomas Michael DiLorenzo, a lifelong learner, teacher, leader in higher education and lover of his family and life itself, died suddenly Friday, July 17, 2020, in Charleston, South Carolina. He was 63.

Born Sept. 12, 1956, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to Emil and Mary Jane DiLorenzo, Tom was the valedictorian of his high school class in Jeanette, Pennsylvania, and went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where he graduated cum laude with degrees in economics and psychology. He earned his doctorate of philosophy degree in clinical psychology from West Virginia University.

Upon completing his graduate degree, Tom joined the faculty at MU, where he rose through the ranks to become chair of the Department of Psychology. In 1999, he was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware, where he met his future wife, Suzanne Austin.

In 2010, Tom moved to Birmingham, Alabama, when he was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Suzanne arrived later and served UAB as senior vice provost. Tom later was named provost and senior vice president at the University of North Dakota, a position from which he retired in June 2020. Tom and Suzanne moved to Charleston on July 1.

Tom was known in higher education circles for his servant leadership with an eye toward the bedrock principles of shared governance with faculty, staff and students. He was a true advocate for and a steward of the institutions he served.

He provided clear-eyed guidance for his universities in a multitude of issues, including affordability, access, state funding, diversity and inclusion, free expression of speech on campus and economic development at the local, state and national levels.

Tom is survived by his wife, Suzanne; her daughter, Lilla Alchon (Alex Dickson), both of Washington, D.C.; his daughter, Kendall Wagner (Alex Wagner), and grandchildren, Keegan and Harper, all of Newark, Delaware; and son, Nathan DiLorenzo (Angela Tomaso), and grandchild, Brooklyn, all of Des Plaines, Illinois.

He also is survived by brothers John of Greensburg, South Carolina, and Mark of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, and stepbrothers, Rick and Don Holtzman of Atlanta, Georgia, and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, respectively.

Tom loved cooking and traveling. His family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the College of Charleston Cougar Pantry, the UAB Blazer Kitchen and the UND Food for Thought Pantry.

A memorial message may sent to the family by visiting the website of J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home. You can also visit the funeral home's guestbook. No memorial service is currently scheduled.

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at swaffords@missouri.edu or at 573-884-5366.

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