WMU News

Thomas L. Amos

July 30, 2005

Dr. Thomas L. Amos, head of special collections for the Western Michigan University Libraries and president of WMU's Faculty Senate, died July 28. He was 53.

A medieval studies specialist, Amos' responsibilities included managing the University's rare book collections by acquiring new volumes and by processing, interpreting and providing reader reference and preservation services for the collections. He also served as a liaison to WMU's Medieval Institute as part of an effort to build collections in research and teaching areas represented in that unit.

"Tom Amos was a valued colleague," said WMU President Judith I. Bailey in an announcement to faculty and staff. "His service and contributions to our University community have been invaluable, and he will be missed by all."

Amos, who held the rank of professor of libraries and history, taught graduate courses in early medieval history and directed the graduate work of master's- and doctoral-level graduate students.

"He was very central to everything that goes on in the library and at the University in general," said Diether Haenicke, former WMU president, whose office in Waldo Library is next to Amos'. "It's an enormous loss."

Amos came to the University in 1996 from Harvard University, where he served as curator for a collection in the Houghton Library, which is the Harvard system's rare book library. Prior to that he was assistant head of public services at the Lilly Library at Indiana University. He also served at St. John's University, where he was cataloger of Western manuscripts at the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library and curator of rare books for the Alcuin Library.

Amos earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Purdue University, a doctoral degree in medieval history from Michigan State University and a master's degree in library science from Indiana University. He also held a diploma from the University of Paris.

Surviving are his wife of nearly 32 years, Barbara Amos; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Freida and Dave Pursell, of Brown County, Ind., and Patti Taylor, of Indianapolis.

The funeral service is at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at Slanner and Buchanan funeral home, 325 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel, Ind. Visitiation is Monday, Aug. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Dr. Joseph Reish, dean of University Libraries, will work with the family to arrange a memorial service on the WMU campus at a later date.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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