Remembering Dr. Thomas “Tom” Roth

Published: Apr 23, 2021

We are deeply saddened to share that Dr. Thomas “Tom” Roth passed away on Sunday, April 18, at the age of 89. Tom devoted his career to UMBC students for over 25 years, first as a biological sciences professor, and later as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, before retiring in 1998 and transitioning to the role of emeritus professor. 

Tom joined the UMBC community in 1972 and made significant contributions to building the university from the ground up. His creative approach to teaching cell biology and dedicated mentorship touched the lives of countless students and faculty members.  

According to biological sciences chair, Phil Farabaugh, “He was a great colleague and a passionate teacher. He influenced generations of UMBC biology graduates and produced some terrific Ph.D. scientists as well.”

His most recognized research contribution was identifying coated pits as involved in receptor-mediated endocytosis during his doctoral work with Keith Porter, who later became chair of the biological sciences department and for whom the Keith Porter Imaging Facility is named. Tom’s pioneering doctoral work will ensure his name is known long into the future. 

As one of the early biological sciences faculty members at UMBC, Tom helped build the department into a collegial community that persists today. 

Tom contributed significantly to the foundation of academic excellence at UMBC. He was brilliant, kind, and dignified,” President Hrabowski says. “Most important, he was always authentic in his interactions with both colleagues and students.” He will truly be missed.

Service arrangements will be made at a later time. His obituary can be read here. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Candlelight Concert Society (where Tom was very active, serving as a past board member and sponsoring various events), or a charity of your choice. 

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