By Sydney Snyder
When beloved USF St. Petersburg professor Terry Tomalin tragically passed away last year, colleagues and friends felt that his impact on campus and “larger than life” personality deserved an equally powerful memorial.
And so, the idea for a scholarship was born.
The Terry Tomalin Memorial Scholarship received massive support, and over $7,000 was raised by colleagues, individual donations and from a memorial event held in May at The Tavern at Bayboro.
Sponsored by arts and science Dean Frank Biafora, Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska and Dr. Bill Heller, the scholarship will go to a chosen recipient who “will have the opportunity to be a part of the Florida Studies and Outdoor Leadership family.”
Although applications for the scholarship are not accepted yet, information will be released as soon as it becomes available.
Community members all over St. Petersburg were left reeling after Tomalin’s unexpected death from a heart attack last May. He was 55.
The tragic loss hit students and faculty on campus close to home. Tomalin, a devoted outdoorsman and the Tampa Bay Times outdoors and fitness editor, was an adjunct professor here at the university. Tomalin taught in the Florida Studies program in the department of history and politics.
No shortage of homages have been paid in Tomalin’s memory. With numerous memorial events around the community, an internship in his name at the Tampa Bay Times and even a sandwich in his honor at The Tavern, Tomalin’s memory will clearly remain.
Ray Arsenault, chairman of the department of history and politics, has fond memories of Tomalin as a colleague and friend.
“Terry said that USF changed his life and that he was our biggest fan. He was the Florida Studies’ ambassador to the world,” Arsenault said.
Arsenault remembers Tomalin as “not the kind of guy who wants a statue. Terry wasn’t a guy who cared anything about honors, tributes or taking credit for things. That just wasn’t his style.”
But Arsenault said Tomalin would be proud to have the scholarship in his name.
“The idea that this would be there to help students, to help people? He’d be so grateful,” said Arsenault. “I’d like to see this scholarship go to students who are going to do as much as they could with it as possible. Students who want to do something with their lives.”