A legacy provides an opportunity to live for a purpose bigger than oneself.
Tom Feeley, a proud member of the class of 1968 who passed away in 2021, harnessed every opportunity to create his own legacy and to encourage his fellow graduates to join him in providing opportunities for future generations of Salem State students.
His legacy resulted in the most successful volunteer-led fundraising effort in Salem State’s history, raising over $1 million dollars from 166 donors for the unrestricted Thomas M. Feeley ’68 Fund, which was established by Tom’s family after his passing.
In honor of this historic milestone and in memory of Tom’s lasting impact, the university hosted a naming celebration for the Joan M. and Thomas M. Feeley ’68 Atrium in the Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons in March 2022, welcoming family, friends, colleagues, and all those who were touched by his larger-than-life persona.
“Simply put, Tom was deeply committed to loving people and to serving people. His judgment, sense of humor, his work ethic, his affability, his rock-solid constancy were merely the providential blossoms of his two essences—love and service,” recalls John McQuillan, founder, president and CEO of Triumverate Environmental, Inc., and longtime business partner of Tom.
Tom and his wife Joan have been champions of Salem State for over 37 years, touting the transformative power that public higher education can provide for students and their families. They made their first gift to Salem State in 1983, in the amount of $250. “My wife Joan and I believe that higher education is the economic stepladder for first-generation students,” said Tom during an interview in spring 2017.
Tom’s own business success is Salem State’s success and is proof of the power of educational opportunity and the potential it can have in changing the lives of first-generation college students—students who are very much part of the fabric of our university.
After graduating with a degree in business administration, Tom and one of his fellow classmates launched Salem State’s first Business Advisory Council, uniting local business and nonprofit leaders to help provide valuable guidance to the business school. He also became a fixture in the Boston business and political community.
In 1974, he started the Boston-based accounting firm Feeley & Driscoll, P.C., which he grew into one of the largest and most recognized CPA firms in Massachusetts before retiring in 2016.
“We all know he was very much still working and shaping lives in his mentoring relationships with colleagues and friends up until the moment we lost him,” recalls President John D. Keenan.
In 2004, the Bertolon School of Business recognized Tom with the Outstanding Graduate Award. He is also a recipient of the Marilyn Flaherty Distinguished Alumnus award presented by the Salem State Alumni Association, which honors those who have made lasting contributions in their professional endeavors.
“For someone who invested so much of himself in others, this fundraising initiative is a direct reflection of Tom’s powerful legacy and profound impact on all those who were lucky enough to call him a friend,” says Cheryl Webster Crounse, vice president of advancement and executive director of the Salem State Foundation.