Thomas McRoberts
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McRoberts, Thomas Funeral services will be held at 11 am Saturday, October 23 at Assumption Catholic Church, 207 E 3rd St Morris, MN. Visitation is one hour before the service. Lunch will be served afterward at the church. Thomas McRoberts passed away October 11, 2010 peacefully surrounded by his loving family and friends. Tom was born on February 20, 1946 in Morris, Minnesota to Elizabeth and Raymond McRoberts. He attended Benilde Catholic High School, and proceeded on to the University of Minnesota, Morris. After college, he ventured west and received a Master's Degree in history from the University of Oregon in Eugene. He then joined the staff of the University of Minnesota, where in one capacity or another, he would spend the next 34 years. A man built on a steady foundation of modesty and grace, Tom would never trumpet his many achievements. However, his contributions were vast and far-reaching. Over the years, Tom worked tirelessly to expand learning opportunities for students. During his career at the University of Minnesota, Morris, Tom served as an administrator, innovative educator, and a mentor. As a mentor, he served both formally and informally. He was an academic advisor to numerous students who have gone on to achieve great success. But he also served as a mentor for friends and colleagues, a constant example of uncommon poise and strength of character. At the University, Tom was tireless in his efforts to expand learning opportunities, aiming to broaden the horizons and unlock the world for the students whose ambitions he helped to fuel. He developed programs to connect the University to the local community, establishing the UMM Center for International Programs and creating the UMM Summer Scholars program for gifted high school juniors from around the region. Tom's family referred to him as uncle, brother, and sometimes Santa. And colleagues referred to him as friend. But Tom's many official titles throughout his career included Director of Continuing Education and Regional Programs, Director of the Center for Small Towns, Director of the Center for International Programs. Despite his humility, Tom's contributions didn't go without notice. He's been recognized with a number of honors, including the all-University John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, the UMM Academic Staff Award, the College of Continuing Education Deans Award for Individual Achievement, and the University of Minnesota Presidents Award for Outstanding Service. Armed with his flat cap, a scarf, and a glow in his eye, Tom spread compassion and warmth everywhere he went, always with a good dose of wit and sense of humor. Tom was a wonderful uncle to seven nephews and nieces, and a loving brother to his sisters Betty Rae, of Morris, and Merrilee, of Minneapolis, and brother Raymond, of Rochester. He always brought life, humor and touch of class to family gatherings. Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in charge of the arrangement. Memorials preferred to the International Students Scholarship Fund at the University of Minnesota, Morris or the SCMC Courage Cottage in Morris. To send condolences to the family, visit us at and click on obituaries.

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Published in Star Tribune from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, 2010.
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4 entries
September 24, 2011
Tom was a dear and cherished friend when I lived in Eugene and started my teaching career at the University of Oregon. He was a graduate student and I was a young professor, but we always treated one another as equals. What I remember most about Tom was his wicked, often self-deprecating sense of humor. He had an integrity and a sense of purpose unusual in young men, which he obviously carried with him to the end.
We last saw one another in Minneapolis when I had a speaking engagement at Carlton College. It was an all too quick breakfast in the Radisson Hotel there, but I am glad that we were able to connect one last time.
Somehow I always thought Tom would be there, and I regret not taking more advantage of the time left to be in closer touch. I envy all those who were able to spend quality time with him in Morris.
Mark Falcoff
October 20, 2010
I had the opportunity to particpate in Summer Scholars '89, where I first met Tom. He displayed keeness to detail and affection for the UMM and surrounding community.

While @ UMM, I vividly recall when he coordinated setting up the technical infrastructure for live mtngs with the UM-TC campus - in the pre internet era...

May he rest in peace.
Sudhanshu Dwivedi
October 18, 2010
As graduate students in Eugene, Oregon, Tom and I were members of a so-called "rap group." No, there were no pre-hiphop aspirations; rather, we were a group of men who gathered on a regular basis to shoot the proverbial breeze. Our topics ran from the most personal to arguing our views of world politics and culture. Tom was rarely without opinion and would use his razor-sharp mind and consistently gracious manner to offer his thoughts. They were always spot on.
I know from friends that Tom exerted huge influence in the development of UMM. He will be sorely missed.
Randy Bourne
October 16, 2010
Tom's warmth and compassion for others was unsurpassed. No problem was unsurmountable for Tom and those who worked with him because he would always help find a solution. Tom was dedicated to UMM, not the brick and mortar college, but the people who worked here and more importantly the students who went to school here. Tom understood that it was these relationships, built one person at a time, that makes UMM so special to all of us who have been here a while. Tom has touched and changed innumerable lives, especially those of international students and non-traditional students who faced difficulties and challenges outside the realm of Tom's regular job responsibilities. Tom's goal was to make sure the students succeeded and he would take care of all the details to make that happen. He was a special person, a friend, and a mentor and he will be deeply missed. Pareena Lawrence
pareena lawrence
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