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Update: Funeral services for Dr. Thomas Kim will be 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 525 Beech St., followed by a reception.

I am saddened to report that Dr. Thomas K. Kim, McMurry University’s Eighth President, passed away earlier today (Monday, March 12). Dr. Kim was McMurry’s longest serving president, having presided over the University from 1970 until 1993.

Dr. Kim came to McMurry from an economic professorship at Texas Tech University. He had earlier completed undergraduate work at Berea College, Kentucky – earning a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He shortly followed that with an MBA from Indiana University. Dr. Kim earned his terminal degree in Economics, receiving a PhD from Tulane University in 1961.

It was during the presidency of Dr. Kim that McMurry College became McMurry University. The Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Center, the J.W. Hunt Physical Education Center, the Shirley L. and Mildred Garrison United Methodist Campus Center, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Dining Hall, and the Phillips Family Activity Center were all completed during Dr. Kim’s presidency.
His early support for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) was pivotal to its success. He energized ICUT’s commitment to data-based research and decision-making, serving independent higher education throughout the State of Texas through this effort. He remained active in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting agency for the 15-state southern region. For eight years he served the United Methodist connection so important to McMurry – chairing the Commission on Institutional Review for the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.

Many things will be said and written in the coming days, all in tribute to a man who served his church and McMurry University with a committed heart. Make no mistake; we lost a real man of courage today, a most gracious man of courage at that. Tom Kim became a friend in the ten short years I was privileged to know him – supportive of an institution he helped put and keep on the map. But it was his gracious courage that will leave a most lasting impression with me.

Warm Regards


John H. Russell, Ph.D.
President, McMurry University