It was my privilege to attend the celebration of life and legacy for our friend and community member, Dr. Thomas Gallagher. While I knew Dr. Tom on a personal level, I am first submitting this as your regent on behalf of the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

In addition to Tom’s accomplishments and service to the community, the Board of Regents would like to recognize his steadfast support of higher education in Nevada. On this subject, it’s almost impossible not to mention his beloved Dorothy, because together, they were a great team.

As you may know, Dorothy served on the Board of Regents for nearly 30 years, providing stewardship for all higher education institutions in Nevada, and both she and Tom were dedicated supporters of Great Basin College. But, while Dorothy may have been the regent in the family, Tom was a true friend of higher education in his own right — sometimes obvious, and sometimes serving as that quiet source of support in the background.

In fact, it was Tom who would often fly Dorothy across Nevada to make sure she was able to attend regent meetings and events. For his exemplary service to higher education, to his community, and to the state, the Board of Regents recognized Tom in 2003 with their highest honor, the Distinguished Nevadan Award. He truly was a most distinguished Nevadan.

On behalf of the entire Board of Regents, I offer our thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences to Tom’s family, and with this heartfelt reminder — that Tom’s selfless life of service will positively impact the lives of Nevadans for generations to come. For that, we are all grateful.

On a personal level, Dr. Tom Gallagher was one of the Greats of the Greatest Generation. As a veteran of World War II, we are all indebted to him for the American freedoms we enjoy. We also owe a debt of gratitude for his boundless energy and generosity to Elko — the place so many of us call Home. He was a champion of community service, business, and education. In fact, I was the recipient of his education (some may call it his advice) on several levels including dentistry, the Chamber of Commerce board, business in Elko and aviation.

How appropriate it is during this season of Thanksgiving to be able to celebrate the life of Dr. Thomas Gallagher and all that he has meant in each of our lives. As you recall your own memories of this gentleman, I know you can say along with me, “Yes, Dr. Tom was indeed a Great of the Greatest Generation and I was blessed to know him.”

Cathy McAdoo is District 8 Regent for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

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