Thomas Richards, Pitt Board of Trustees chair, dies at 66

Thomas+Richards%2C+the+chair+of+Pitt%E2%80%99s+Board+of+Trustees%2C+passed+away+Friday+at+66+following+a+battle+with+cancer%2C+University+officials+said+Friday+evening.

Image via University of Pittsburgh

Thomas Richards, the chair of Pitt’s Board of Trustees, passed away Friday at 66 following a battle with cancer, University officials said Friday evening.

By Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Thomas Richards, the chair of Pitt’s Board of Trustees, passed away Friday at 66 following a battle with cancer, University officials said Friday evening.

A native of nearby Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Richards graduated from Moon High School and attended Pitt to study economics. Richards served as starting point guard for the men’s basketball team and enjoyed the 1973-74 season, with a 22-game winning streak and narrow miss at The Big Dance. During his senior year at Pitt in 1976, Richards earned the Blue-Gold Award — which celebrates Pitt athletes who epitomize excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and citizenship — and had his name etched into the Varsity Walk by the Cathedral of Learning.

Thomas Richards, seen in the Jan. 27, 1975, issue of The Pitt News. (The Pitt News Archives)

He met his wife, Mary Beth, in high school and both attended Pitt together before marrying in 1979.

After earning a master’s degree in management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Richards spent 45 years in the technology industry. He served in top leadership positions at Ameritech, Clear Communications and Qwest Communications, among other companies, before joining CDW and becoming president and CEO in 2011.

Richards was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2011 and served on many committees, including a five-year stint as chair of the risk and compliance committee. Fellow trustees voted him as chair-elect in 2019 before ultimately becoming board chair in 2020. He was elected to the one-year position again in 2021.

Richards is survived by his wife, Mary Beth, daughter, Lindsay, and son, Jason.

The Richards family will host a visitation for friends at John A. Freyvogel Sons, Inc., on Nov. 10 and 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on both dates. A memorial service and public celebration of Richards’ life is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. at Heinz Chapel.

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