We were saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Thomas G. Kessinger, a passionate scholar on South Asia and an advocate for higher education who served the Ford Foundation with distinction.
From a career in academia, Tom joined the foundation in New Delhi in 1977 as a program officer in education and culture, responsible for work in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Just two years later, he became the foundation’s regional representative in Indonesia, and later oversaw all the foundation’s programs in that country as well as Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 1987, he returned to the foundation’s New Delhi office as the regional representative for South Asia, a position he held until being named president of Haverford College in 1988.
After leading the college for eight years, Tom became general manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva, Switzerland, where he managed a group of architects, conservation engineers, designers and city planners who conduct activities designed to enhance the quality of the built environment in historic cities in Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East and North Africa. From 2002 until his retirement in 2012, he served as general manager of the Aga Khan Foundation, responsible for overseeing its work worldwide.
At the time of his death, Tom was on the boards of the Aga Khan University and the University of Central Asia. He will be missed.