The Portland State University Library is sad to share that our beloved Dean Tom Bielavitz passed away last Friday after a long illness.
All of us at PSU will remember Tom as a strong and compassionate leader and a kind and thoughtful soul who consistently elevated his colleagues and the students of Portland State.
Tom joined the Library in 2006, and before becoming the dean served as assistant university librarian for administrative services, planning and digital initiatives. He earned a Master of Library and Information Science from Drexel University, Philadelphia, in 2005. He began his library career in 1993, first working in Blackwell’s Book Services distribution center in Blackwood, N.J. and then in its U.S. headquarters in Lake Oswego. He was named interim dean of the Library in 2018 and was named full dean effective July 1 of 2019.
An advocate for student success and access, Tom was a leader in bringing Open Educational Resources to Portland State, saving students hundreds of thousands dollars in textbook fees every year. He truly embraced PSU’s mission to serve and lived it in his own service to the university through his innovation in information technology, diversity action and administrative leadership.
Library faculty and staff are mourning the loss of Tom and keeping his wife Marisa and daughters, Stella and Mira, in their thoughts.
“It is hard to find the words to convey how painful this news is or how much Tom will be missed. He has contributed so much to PSU and to the Library in his 14 years here. He has been a champion on campus for open educational resources and has been a steady hand at the wheel as Dean (and Interim Dean),” said Interim Dean Michael Bowman. “All of his colleagues here in the Library and across campus will miss him greatly.”