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Thomas E. Engells

May 31, 1958 — January 21, 2018


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Thomas E. Engells passed away unexpectedly at his home on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.

Tom was born May 31, 1958 in Austin, Texas. He attended public schools in Austin and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree, with honors, in 1979 from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a company and field grade officer in Fleet Marine Forces Pacific, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wings. Following active duty, he served in the Marine Reserves.

In 1983, Tom was commissioned as a peace officer and began his nearly 35-year career with the University of Texas System Police. He rose within the ranks of the system, from police officer in Houston to Police Chief of UTMB in Galveston in 2010, the leadership position he held at the time of his passing.

An avid student and lifelong learner, Tom completed a master’s degree in criminal justice management at Sam Houston State University in 1990, and he received a second master’s degree in Homeland Security and Defense from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 2005. An active writer, Tom published numerous articles in both peer-reviewed journals and the popular press on ethics, leadership, organizational development, management and homeland security issues.

Tom was recognized as an international expert in biosecurity and was highly sought as a reviewer, advisor and presenter on this topic. He twice was named “Police Chief of the Year” within the UT System, and he also earned the “Law Enforcement Administrator of the Year” by the Texas Association of College and University Police Administrators in 2006. He also served as an adjunct associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Despite his many professional contributions and accomplishments, Tom was first and foremost a devoted family man. He is survived by his loving wife, Peggy, and their daughter, Laura, whose accomplishments were the source of his and Peggy’s greatest joy, pride and admiration. His life was celebrated in a private family memorial service. He will be remembered by his UTMB family and his police department colleagues during a gathering being planned at the university.

To honor Tom’s life, the Thomas E. Engells Memorial Fund has been established at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Memorial gifts may be sent care of the fund to the UTMB Office of Development, 301 University, Galveston, TX 77555-0148.
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