Service Award, 2013
Tom Doremus started out to be a naval architect, but a change in direction brought him from Paterson, New Jersey, to Drew. Here he absorbed English literature with John Warner—“the perfect quintessential Drew professor”—and intellectual history with John von der Heide. He was close to Drew’s Art Department, where he was told that he was indeed born to be an architect. His Drew experience has been instrumental in his career, and he in turn has expanded Drew’s ability to strengthen the liberal arts.
After graduating summa cum laude in English, Tom earned his Master of Architecture degree at Yale in 1973. He worked as an architect in increasingly responsible positions until, in 1988, he went on his own as Thomas L. Doremus AIA. It would be hard to classify Tom’s achievements, for he has designed buildings as various as hospitals, schools, commercial offices, condominiums, and private residences, and such public spaces as the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He is the author of two volumes on architectural history.
To sustain himself through the lean times in a profession notoriously subject to economic fluctuations, Tom created a business in technology: Graphic Data Design Inc., in which he works in a database design and presentation. He has consulted with financial firms, advertising agencies and real estate management and development companies.
The demands of his work have not kept Tom from being an active Drew alumnus. A Manhattan resident, he has supported many of the New York Alumni Club’s events and led walking tours from Greenwich Village to the Museum Mile and the Four Freedoms Park, as well as tours for the Wall Street and United Nations Semesters.
As executive director of The Casement Fund, which supports writing and the arts through grants to colleges and universities, Tom has been in a position to assist curricular and co-curricular projects for writing at Drew. In 2010, the fund endowed stipends for a writing internship in New York City: now the John M. Warner Writing Internship, named for Tom’s favorite professor, is a special opportunity for Drew students with a passion for writing. The previous year, at a Casement-funded Drew student poetry reading, Tom heard a student’s poignant poem about his father’s experience in the World Trade Center disaster eight years before. Realizing that soon young people would have no recollection of those events, Tom led The Casement Fund to create the 9/11 Memorial Poetry and Visual Arts Fund for a Drew JanTerm course with artist Marjorie Morrow and poet Kamilah Moon. Tom has supported numerous additional Drew projects through the Fund, including the Writers@Drew Series, a Newark Theatre Program, the ArtsPower Collaborative Program, and Alumni College programs.
Achievement in diverse fields, broad interests, generous and imaginative support to his alma mater and the liberal arts—is Tom Doremus a Renaissance man? Close at least, we think, and we are glad that he’s ours.