Tom was the colleague I admired most, for his equal commitment to — and excellence in — both research and teaching, and for his choice to work in a large, urban public university like UCLA, so different from the small, private, liberal arts schools where he had studied. He contributed immensely to the dramatic improvement of our Department — in both research and teaching — in the fifty+ years he spent here.
About Tom’s view of the importance of excellent teaching in a public university, I recall our effort in 1985 (or ’86) to lower the teaching load for the regular faculty: it had been set to 5 quarter courses when we moved to the quarter system in 1965, and the proposal, 20 years later, was to bring it down to 4.5 and also offer some teaching relief for extras (supervising doctoral dissertations, administrative work, etc.). This would, in effect, bring the average teaching load down to 4 courses per year. There were some doubts whether the Administration would let us get away with it, but we had received some friendly signals; and, naturally, there was very strong, unquestioning support for the scheme from the faculty — except for Tom: he wanted to be convinced that we could do it without hurting the teaching program, except for a (small) increase in the size of classes which was conceded right up front. He spent several hours with me challenging and improving plausible class schedules, taking into account faculty leaves, the available classrooms and lecture halls, etc. In the end he supported the proposal; which was approved, to a large extent because of the improvements he had pushed for.
Much later, when he was Undergraduate Vice Chair in 2004–06, he approached me one day in the corridor and asked me directly, out of the blue, if the one Upper Division (UD) class in Logic that was (then) regularly offered each year was enough or whether we could use a second one. I recall being startled and mumbling some version of assent, and then he asked for the logic group to make a concrete proposal for the Undergraduate Studies Committee, which we did, and they accepted, and we have been teaching two UD logic classes every year since then. There was nothing special about logic, of course: I learned later that he had added courses in several fields where the Department had strong research groups.
Beyond his contributions to research and teaching, Tom was one of the friendliest, genuinely nicest persons I have known, always willing to help and never disparaging the work of others. It has been a privilege to have been his colleague and his friend.
Yiannis Moschovakis is Professor Emeritus of the UCLA Department of Mathematics and of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Athens, Greece.