Former Michigan Technological University Board of Trustees member Thomas Baldini passed away Tuesday, Dec. 26 at Marquette General Hospital following an apparent stroke over the weekend. He was 74.
Baldini, a prominent name in Upper Peninsula civics and politics, was appointed to the Board of Trustees by then-Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2009. He served on the board from January of 2010 until December 31, 2016.
At the time of his appointment, Baldini said, "It’s a great honor to be named by the governor to be a member of Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees. Being a member of the Board of one of the four distinguished research universities in the state with a national and international reputation carries with it a great responsibility."
Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz says Baldini will be missed. "Tom served for eight years on Michigan Tech's Board, coming on as a Trustee during the very difficult times of the great recession. Many of his years were spent on the Finance and Audit committee. He'd ask the tough questions, but he never wavered from his focus that student success was the key to Michigan Tech's future as well as Michigan and the Nation's future. He was a good friend who will be missed."
Dale Tahtinen served as Michigan Tech’s Vice President for Governmental Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees. Tathinen said his relationship with Baldini goes back to their college days at Northern Michigan University. "He always loved politics and the process as a teacher, a practitioner and citizen who strongly believed in our two-party system and the need for everyone to be involved," Tahtinen said.
Among the University’s accomplishments during Baldini’s service on the Board were the Great Lakes Research Center, the Pavlis Honors College and the McAllister Visitor’s Center.
A household name in Upper Peninsula politics, Baldini served as Governor James Blanchard’s special assistant for U.P. Affairs and Education Adviser. In 1994, he was appointed chair of the US section of the International Joint Commission for Canada and the US, by President Bill Clinton. He also served as US commissioner for the International Boundary Commission for the US and Canada, another presidential appointment. Baldini served as district director in Marquette for US Rep. Bart Stupak from 2003-11.
"He always loved politics and the process as a teacher, a practitioner and citizen who strongly believed in our two-party system and the need for everyone to be involved."
A graduate of Northern Michigan University with a bachelor of science in secondary education, Baldini spent more than 20 years in the classroom as a government and economics teacher in the Marquette Area Public Schools. He also worked as assistant to the superintendent for personnel and finances of the district. At the time of his death he was a part-time instructor in the political science department at his alma mater.
Baldini was elected to a three-year term on the Marquette City Commission in 2014 and was elected mayor in November.
Funeral services are scheduled for noon Wednesday (Jan. 3) at St. Michael Catholic Church in Marquette. The Baldini Family will greet visitors from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 2) at the Canale-Tonela Funeral Home in Marquette, and an hour before services Wednesday at the church.