Thomas P. Lauth, Dean Emeritus of the School of Public and International Affairs and Professor Emeritus of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia, died May 13. He was 85 years old. Lauth was the founding dean of UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs in 2001.
In January 2020, he was awarded the University of Georgia’s President’s Medal, an honor recognizing those who are not current employees of UGA but who have provided extraordinary support to UGA’s students, research and programs, as well as inspiration to community leaders.
“Tom Lauth was an extraordinary administrator, a beloved professor and a dear friend,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “He had a profound impact on the University of Georgia, and his wise counsel and support will be missed by all who had the privilege to know him. The University community has Jeannie and his entire family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Under Lauth’s 12 years of leadership as dean, SPIA quickly gained a reputation for excellence with world-renowned faculty, two research centers, multiple study abroad programs and highly successful students and alumni. Its public affairs graduate program continues to rank in the top 10 in the nation.
Lauth received the Aaron B. Wildavsky Award for lifetime scholarly achievement from the Association of Budgeting and Financial Management. He was also an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a former president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. As a scholar, he remained active long after retiring from UGA. Most recently, in 2021, he published the monograph “Public Budgeting in Georgia: Institutions, Process, Politics and Policy.”
Lauth also served his community on numerous councils and committees, including representing District 7 on the Athens-Clarke County Citizens Advisory Committee that reviewed all Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2020 projects.
Lauth was passionate about funding graduate student education. As an active faculty member, he directed 30 Ph.D. dissertations. In 2010, he delivered UGA’s 100th anniversary Graduate Commencement address. The Thomas P. and M. Jean Lauth Graduate Fellowship Fund continues to provide support to recruit and retain top quality graduate students.
“Tom Lauth was a treasure to SPIA and to the University of Georgia,” said Matthew Auer, dean of the School of Public and International Affairs. “In addition to his impactful leadership at the departmental, school, and university levels, he was a caring mentor to generations of students who became public budgeting experts and managers of public resources across the country.”
Lauth was a faculty member at UGA from 1981-2013 and served as head of the Department of Political Science from 1988-2001.
He earned the B.A. in government from the University of Notre Dame and the Ph.D. in political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.
Mass will be celebrated at the University of Georgia Catholic Center, 1344 S. Lumpkin Street, Athens, at a date and time to be announced.
Bernstein Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.