Inside Clemson

Thomas ‘Tom’ M. Keinath, Dean Emeritus of Engineering and Science

Thomas “Tom” M. Keinath, Clemson University Dean Emeritus of Engineering and Science, passed away on March 15, 2024, at the age of 83.

“Tom was an exemplar scholar and researcher, a true giant in his discipline,” said Dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Anand Gramopadhye. “As a faculty member of our college, chair of our environmental engineering department and later as a Dean of the College of Engineering and Science, he propelled us to great heights. But beyond his leadership, to many of us who knew him well, we will remember Tom not only as a great dean, but a true gentleman, a caring mentor and friend. His kindness and genuine concern for others left a lasting impression on all those who crossed his path. As we mourn his loss, we will also celebrate the legacy he leaves behind. Tom’s impact on the academic community and at Clemson will be remembered for years to come.” 

Keinath served as Dean of the College of Engineering and Science from 1992-2006, presiding over a school that consists of 4,500 to 5,000 students and approximately 430 faculty and permanent staff. He began his Clemson career on July 1, 1969, as an assistant professor of Environmental Systems Engineering. Rising through the department, he became acting department head in 1976 before eventually being named Dean of Engineering in 1992. The school currently awards the Thomas Keinath Water Environment Association Fellowship Endowment annually to support graduate-level students currently enrolled or accepted to a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering & Science or a doctoral degree in Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences.

During his 38-year professional career as a member of the academy, he was very active in service to the major national and international professional organizations concerned with water quality control. Keinath completed two two-year terms as President of the International Water Association (headquartered in London) and as Chair of its Executive Committee and Governing Board. He served the American Society of Civil Engineers as Chair of its Clarifier Research Technical Committee. Keinath also served as President of the Association of Environmental Engineering Professors and as well as a three-year term as Chair of the 150-member Program Committee of the Water Environment Federation. He also served on several committees and panels of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science.

During his career, Keinath directed the research of 87 master’s degrees, 15 Ph.Ds., and eight postdoctoral students.

He earned his doctorate and post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan in water resources engineering, who recognized him with the Alumni Society Merit Award in 1996. Other awards included the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science’s Founders Award (2002), the Gordon Maskew Fair Medal by the Water Environment Federation (1997), the Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal (1995) and the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (1985).

A CECAS remembrance is available on Clemson News. His obituary will be shared when available.