The Passing Of Board Chairman Tom Scott Honoring Our Friend & His Legacy


Board Chairman Tom R. Scott, PhD


It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that Friends of Balboa Park observes the passing of Tom Scott, Chairman of our Board of Directors and a cherished member of the Friends family. Tom passed away on May 15, 2017, surrounded by his family and a deep warmth and love from so many in Balboa Park who admired him.

Tom and his wife, Bonnie, moved to San Diego in 2000 from Delaware, where they had been professors of Psychology and English, respectively, at the University of Delaware for three decades. Tom had also been Chair of the Psychology Department and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. It was from that position that San Diego State University recruited him to serve as Dean of the College of Sciences, a position he held from 2000 – 2005.  Tom then served as Vice-President for Research from 2005 – 2011 before returning to the faculty.  He retired from SDSU in 2013. From 2002 – 2007 Tom broadcast a weekly commentary on KPBS, “San Diego Science,” in which he explored a range of scientific topics. He served on the Boards of California’s Tobacco Research Program, the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, San Diego Science and Engineering Festival, and CleanTECH San Diego.

A passionate champion of Balboa Park with a kind demeanor, Tom made an indelible mark on Friends of Balboa Park during his time with us. Elected to the Board in 2014, Tom dedicated the gift of time, talent and treasure in many ways. He served on the Executive Committee and Finance Committee, and was chairman of the Investment Committee and Governance Committee. Tom was a pivotal leader in Friends’ achieving its endowment goals in 2015. In late 2016, he personally helped secure key donations towards one of his favorite projects in the Park: enhancement of the space surrounding the giant Moreton Bay Fig Tree. Tom was elected Chairman of the Board in January 2017, and quickly became an advocate for seeking greater collaboration with other park organizations – a legacy of cooperative spirit that will be carried on by Friends of Balboa Park in his memory.

Tom is survived by Bonnie, their three grown children, and six grandchildren. The family is planning a celebration of Tom’s life in Balboa Park for later this summer or early fall.

On behalf of Friends of Balboa Park’s Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers, we all express our deepest condolences to Tom’s family. 

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