Dr. Thomas M. Williams & Margaret G. Williams Endowment for Education & Training

About the Endowment

Dr. Thomas M Williams' successful medical career started with his MD from UNM and continued with a pathology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Williams joined the faculty of UNM Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine in 1991. A molecular pathologist and professor of pathology, Dr. Williams founded the first clinical molecular diagnostics laboratory at UNM Hospital.

As an educator, Dr. Williams was dedicated to training medical students, graduate students, Pathology residents and Pathology fellows. As a physician scientist, Dr. Thomas Williams' research centered on immunogenetics, the study of genes and proteins that control the immune response and the immune reaction to transplanted organs, such as kidneys and bone marrow.

In 2008, Dr. Thomas Williams was appointed chair of the UNM Pathology Department. The department is among the top 10 in the U.S. with respect to grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. In July 2012, Dr. Williams was appointed executive vice dean of the UNM School of Medicine. Dr. Thomas Williams stepped away from the position in November 2014. At the peak of his professional career, Dr. Williams passed away on January 7, 2015.

Contributions Support this Mission

To support the greatest educational and training needs within the UNM Department of Pathology. The Williams Family and UNM Department of Pathology jointly initiated the "Dr. Thomas M. Williams & Margaret G. Williams Endowment for Education and Training" in honor of his dedication to education and research at UNM.

The "Dr. Thomas M. Williams & Margaret G. Williams Endowment for Education and Training" will support the greatest educational and training needs within the department of Pathology. Make a contribution today.


In Memoriam: Thomas M. Williams

Message from Frederick H. Harvey Chair and Professor Douglas P. Clark

It's at times like this when many of us begin asking very fundamental questions about ourselves and our lives. For example: science and academic medicine - does it make a real difference? I think Tom's life provides some answers: First, Tom cared about patients, particularly those who are vulnerable or underserved.

Second, Tom was a great educator who recognized that in some ways our students and trainees are our greatest opportunity to make an impact; they are our legacy. Third, Tom was an excellent scientist who embraced new areas, such as genomics, and translated them into practical new diagnostics.

Finally, Tom cherished the community of people involved in all of these missions, and through his work as Chair and Executive Vice Dean he strived to make this community stronger. Tom saw academic medicine, despite its challenges, to be a privilege and an opportunity to make a difference in our world. Tom succeeded.

I owe Tom a great debt, for his advice, friendship, and service. Tom Williams will be missed dearly. I look forward to upholding Tom's legacy together.

Douglas P. Clark, MD
Frederick H. Harvey Chair and Professor

thomas williams

Dr. Thomas M. Williams

May 6, 1957 - January 7, 2015


WILLIAMS, THOMAS, DR. Thomas "Tom" McKee Williams, a native of Hobbs, New Mexico and former executive vice dean at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, died January 7, 2015. As a teenager, Dr. Williams developed his own house painting business and played center for the state championship second place football team in 1974. He famously "muffed" two snaps to his punter during a homecoming game that the Eagles with luck still won 14-6. Dr. Williams graduated from Hobbs High School and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College. He received his medical degree from the University of New Mexico. He completed his residency training in anatomic pathology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he also served as Chief Resident. Dr. Williams was happy to get a first "real" job as Assistant Professor at age 32 at the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to the UNM School of Medicine as a faculty member in 1991. Except for a brief interlude as Chief Scientific Officer for biotechnology start-up Exagen Diagnostics, Dr. Williams spent the remainder of his career at UNM. He served as Chairman of the UNM School of Medicine Department of Pathology from 2008 to 2012. The department is among the top 10 in the United States with respect to grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. Prior to assuming his role as chair, he served as the department's executive vice chair from 2003 to 2006 and as vice chair of undergraduate medical education from 1998 to 2005. Toward the end of his career, Dr. Williams served as Executive Vice Dean and President of the Medical Practice of the School of Medicine from 2012 to 2014. Dr. Williams was an expert in immunogenetics and molecular pathology. His clinical laboratory supported kidney and bone marrow transplantation and general molecular diagnostics. His research laboratory was a leader in defining the rich complexity of the human and macaque MHC genes that control responses to transplanted organs. He published more than 100 research papers during his career, including highly cited papers in Transplantation and Molecular Genetics. One of Dr. Williams' career highlights was teaching a very large number of medical students, graduate students, residents, clinical fellows, practicing physicians and medical technologists. He taught them about medical genetics, immunogenetics and molecular pathology. He was proud of the junior faculty members he recruited to the Department of Pathology. Tom immensely enjoyed traveling. He visited five continents, every state (twice) and each of New Mexico's 33 counties! He enjoyed bicycling and made it a point to ride in every state: for example, he and wife Maggie biked 20 miles in Kansas and just a few feet in Colorado and Oklahoma at the junction of the three states. In Albuquerque, he logged more than 10,000 miles on his bike. Dr. Williams also enjoyed many visits to the island of Nantucket and to the cities of San Francisco and New York, where he often saw his nine nieces and nephew. Tom was the President of the Order of McKee, a Williams family tradition whose members include his nephew, Zeke McKee Williams, and grandnephews Hardin McKee Capps, Quentin McKee Lombard, and Henry McKee Bean. Williams' great grandfather, William McKee Riggs, could be considered the founder of the group. Zeke will be the new President of the Order. Tom was an expert carpenter whose widely-varied interests included modern art, reading, gardening, mathematics, and political discourse. He believed that life revolved around making a contribution via one's work, having relationships based on integrity, and having as many high quality and diverse experiences as possible. He leaves his wife Maggie; their sons Andrew, Alex and Henry; mother Jacquelyn Williams; siblings, William, Donna, Susie and Molly and several beloved extended family members.