Thursday, October 31, 2013

Remembering UGA Press author and friend Thomas Dyer

The Press was saddened to hear of the passing of Thomas Dyer this past Monday. In addition to being a University of Georgia professor and administrator, Dyer was a UGA Press author and editorial board member. The author of numerous books, Dyer is best known at the Press for his definitive history of the University of Georgia in THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY, 1785-1985. More information about Dyer can be found in the official obituary published on the Athens Banner-Herald website, which is available here.

Former UGA Press executive editor, Nancy Grayson, remembers Dyer and shares some of her favorite memories of him:
Tom Dyer, who wrote a fine bicentennial history of the University of Georgia, was enormously influential in shaping its more recent history. His legacy is indelible and wide-ranging, a reflection of his interest in higher education at all levels. Tom's initiatives transformed the undergraduate learning environment at UGA, doubled the recruitment of African American faculty, and also helped foster the development of our top-rated Institute of Higher Education. He's the only person, in my memory, who was both vice-president for instruction/academic affairs and also vice-president for services. 
Tom was a loyal supporter of the UGA Press. He served on its faculty editorial board for a number of years, including three times as chairman. In addition to publishing two of his own books with the Press, he chaired the editorial board of the New Georgia Guide (published by UGAP)--a mammoth project that benefited from Tom's breadth of vision and scholarly integrity. 
Some of my warmest memories of Tom are of casual conversations on North Campus when he'd stop to talk about whatever was on his mind. Once it was to express his distress over the closings, or threatened closings, of several university presses; he was a passionate advocate of our sector of publishing. Most often it was to update me, with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes, on the six-volume autobiography he was writing. He assured me that he was making good progress (he was already on volume 4) and would soon be delivering the entire manuscript to the Press. His sense of humor was legendary. 
Like most of his friends and colleagues, I have the sad feeling that we will never see his like again.
Nancy Grayson retired from UGA Press last September. She spent 26 years in university press publishing, 20 of which were at UGA Press. Her roles at the Press included manuscript editor, acquisitions editor, editor-in-chief, and executive editor.