Dr. Tom Philpott: Eulogy
October 1991; page 2
The untimely death of Tom Philpott reminds us that a great mind and a good heart offer no assurance of an easy life. Tom taught history, but to those who knew him, he taught much more.
There was no individual at the University of Texas who meant so much to so many. He symbolized a college education as a learning experience. He was that rare breed of University professor committed to students and learning. Tom did not mold minds, he opened them. He taught, through example, that every one of us had the power to initiate change. Students were drawn to Tom - not because he ran against the UT grain - but because he managed to remain one of "us." At every turn, Tom confronted the University bureaucracy. He constantly fought a losing battle to keep the University a place for education, not for business.
When he battled, it was done full tilt, without regret or reservation. He stood in protest with students on the West Mall more times than memory serves.
The written word was his tool. Tom depended on the pen of others to deliver his message as quickly as he relied on himself. There were so many books . . . Altgeld's America, The Book of Lights, My Name is Asher Lev, A Rumor of War, Souls on Fire, to name but a few. They are all studies in the human spirit, lessons in overcoming obstacles. Lessons Tom thought we should learn.
We can extend his commitment to learning by obtaining the best education possible; and retaining our convictions in the process. We were proud to have him as a teacher. We shall not see his like again ... Fiat lux, Dr. Philpott.