Thomas J. Mason, former vice president for business affairs at the University of Notre Dame, died Nov. 24 (Monday) in Naples, Florida. He was 82 years old.
A native of Detroit, Mason studied at St. Jerome School in Kitchener, Ontario, before serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. In 1959, he was graduated from the University of Detroit and earned a master’s degree in business administration from there in 1963.
Before coming to Notre Dame as vice president of business affairs in 1976, Mason had taught accounting at his alma mater as well as at Eastern Michigan University. He also had worked at the University of Michigan for 10 years in various financial positions, including director of financial affairs of the university’s hospital.
During his 20-year tenure, Mason exercised overall control of Notre Dame’s fiscal affairs and oversaw a nearly tenfold expansion of the University’s endowment, more than 30 major construction projects, the renovation of the Main Building and the expansion of Notre Dame Stadium.
When Mason retired as vice president for business affairs in 1996, Notre Dame’s then-president, Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., remarked that “much of higher education in recent years has been characterized by fiscal crisis and retrenchment. The fact that this has never been the case at Notre Dame is due in large measure to the financial and managerial acumen of Tom Mason. His legacy to the University is a fiscal planning and budget making model that should ensure our financial strength for years to come.”
Mason was named an honorary Notre Dame alumnus in 1993 by the Notre Dame Alumni Association, and the University’s facilities services building is named in his honor.
Mason is survived by his wife of 55 years, Mary Ann (nee Mitchell); his children, Jo Ann Mason, Michael (Sharon) Mason and Susan Mason; and his sisters, Caroline Butkiewiez and Mary Bauer.
A visitation will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday (Dec. 6) in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart followed by a funeral Mass at 9:30 a.m. and a burial in Cedar Grove Cemetery.
Instead of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Mason’s memory to the University of Detroit Mercy at 4001 W. McNichols Road, Detroit, MI 48221-3038; or to St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, FL 34120.