H. Thomas Francis ’71

Tom died on March 6, 2016. At K he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in African studies. He studied abroad in Sierra Leone, and he traveled extensively throughout North and West Africa while there. He later completed a master’s degree at Western Michigan University in counseling and student personnel (post-secondary). A dedicated advisor and administrator, Tom spent his professional career guiding students at Kalamazoo College for ten years and then at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where he served as director of career services, for 18 years.

In 1972 Tom volunteered to serve in West Africa with the U.S. Peace Corps and he assisted farmers with grain storage in Dahomey (now Benin). The Peace Corps experience reinforced his belief in service to others, the innate goodness of people, and the importance of experiential education. That legacy lasted a lifetime, as did the impact of a life-threatening tropical parasite in 1974, which forced his evacuation to an Army Hospital in West Germany and later to Walter Reed Hospital and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Tom confronted his many health challenges with a gentle strength over the decades, but his heart finally failed him. He is survived by his wife, their two children and three grandchildren.

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