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Tom Fleming Receives 2015 Award for Service to Princeton

When Tom Fleming retired, he began to fill his life with the things he loved. There was time for golf and tennis; learning Spanish and taking piano lessons; serving on the board of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra and doing pro bono consulting for local non-profits. He continued to travel widely, but to visit family and friends, not to conduct business.

He had always enjoyed his trips to Princeton. He had joined the graduate board of Cap & Gown in 1998, his first years happily coinciding with the years his daughters were members of the club, and was elected vice chair in 2003. After retirement he devoted even more time to the club. He co-chaired the club's highly successful capital campaign from 2008 to 2011, and in the midst of that was elected chair of Cap's board. When the campaign concluded, he took on the chairmanship of the newly formed Eating Club Steering Committee. Then, fast on the heels of that assignment, in 2012 he was elected chair of the Graduate InterClub Council (GICC), whose membership is made up of the chairs of all of the eating clubs.

At the time, the University and the clubs were aggressively implementing recommendations for strengthening the clubs and improving relationships between the clubs and the University. Clear vision and exceptional leadership were required – and Tom has provided just that through countless hours of determined and dedicated service. During his tenure, he has supported the InterClub Council (ICC), composed of the undergraduate presidents of the clubs, while challenging it to exercise responsibility for improving the club experience for all students. He has played key roles in strengthening the management of the clubs, in initiatives designed to expand their attractiveness and reduce their costs, and in the implementation of practices that significantly improve the procedures by which students apply to and join them.

Those who have worked with Tom have admired his leadership style. He builds coalitions and creates a climate of collaboration. "His vision is broader than just his own world," shares Lisa Schmucki '74, an advisor to both the ICC and the GICC. "He truly believes that if we all work together, we can rise to any challenge." He leads change through thoughtful consideration and is quick to recognize and draw on the leadership of others. He is content to stay in the background and champion other members of his team, but he is willing to speak out when necessary. He is motivated by a clear conviction that, at their best, the clubs play an integral role in helping the University achieve its educational mission, and the clubs and the University have a shared interest in the clubs meeting the highest possible standards. He is not interested in taking credit. Yet as Bob Durkee '69 notes, "The relationships between the clubs and the University are as strong as they have ever been, and Tom deserves an enormous amount of credit for that."

Tom, in presenting you with this Award for Service to Princeton, we now ensure that credit is being given where credit is due. Thank you for all your time and talent devoted to the University.

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