Thomas B. Flaherty has been named the SCUP 2009 Distinguished Service Award Recipient. His colleagues say he is one of those rare members who is not just “in” SCUP but is “of” SCUP. Flaherty joined SCUP over 20 years ago and began his service at the regional level where he was membership contact, conference chair, regional representative, and at-large member. He pioneered the first SCUP regional website while serving as regional communications coordinator.
Flaherty later served as SCUP’s President in 2003-04, and oversaw significant strategic planning activity that transformed the organizational structure of the society. He chaired the local host committee for SCUP–36 in Boston, and served as conference chair for SCUP–37 in San Diego.
Specializing in academic and strategic planning, Flaherty helps groups develop clear vision and problem-solving strategies based on the needs of their organizations. He advocates team-based approaches, and believes that close collaboration between budget administrators, space planners, facilities managers, and senior leadership is essential to maximize institutional planning and effectiveness. Flaherty has made numerous presentations at SCUP regional and international conferences, at the Association for Institutional Research and EDUCAUSE conferences on strategic planning, hiring, retention, total quality management, interest sessions, and has conducted planning workshops.
When asked to describe Flaherty, colleagues say he has indefatigable energy, a combination of Yankee work ethic and Southern charm, and a self-effacing sense of humor. He has a reputation as being a great SCUP ambassador and engaging people in the organization and its mission. In addition, they applaud him for being a great mentor, always willing to listen, advise, and add perspective to a new SCUP member. He has the ability to connect the dots – especially between the academic and facilities sides. Another quiet strength is his skill to gently persuade: when Flaherty asks you to volunteer, it is virtually impossible to say no.