With the death on April 2 of healthcare entrepreneur Thomas Shields, the College has lost a great and loyal friend who knew and loved Stonehill very much, especially its students.
He was the founder and CEO of Shields Health Care Group, which has more than 30 facilities throughout New England, offering MRI, PET/CT, and radiation therapy services with an extraordinary team of caring professionals—while remaining a family-owned and operated organization.
The father of two alumni, William ’84 and Thomas ’92 and one trustee, Carmel Shields, he also served as Chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2002. Tom received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the College in 1994. With his late wife Mary, he established the Shields Scholarship, which has helped more than 140 Stonehill students.
“Tom Shields is one of the most outstanding individuals in our history. Generous to a fault, he immersed himself in the life of the College, always leading by example. As chairman of our Board of Trustees, he provided sage and strategic leadership during the 90s while working to develop an ever-stronger Board. A compassionate man with a big heart, he will be sorely missed by all at Stonehill who had the good fortune of knowing him and working with him,” said President John Denning, C.S.C.
Tom and his wife Mary began their family-owned business in 1972, when they opened the Madalawn Nursing Home in Brockton. In 1986, Shields established the first independent community MRI center in Brockton, a venture that has expanded to many locations throughout New England.
A $7 million gift Tom and his wife Mary made in support of the Shields Science Center in 2009 remains the largest in the College’s history. To learn why the Shields’ made such a major gift to the College, visit here to read a 2010 article from the Stonehill Alumni Magazine.
In addition to chairing Stonehill’s Board of Trustees, Tom was also chairman of the College’s first capital campaign, Securing the Vision, which raised $23 million between 1992 and 1997.
The Attaining the Summit campaign had a goal of $55 million, targeted for the Science Center, scholarships, academic initiatives and athletics. The Shields’ $7 million gift helped the College surpass its goal as it raised nearly $60 million.
A highlight for Tom and Mary was meeting with recipients of their scholarship over dinner on campus every year. As Tom once explained, “On the way home in the car, Mary and I have the best conversations as we discuss what the students have told us over dinner. The buzz is great, and we are always invigorated by their stories and by what they are achieving. It is a joyful occasion because the students are wonderful ambassadors for the quality of a Stonehill education.”
The Shields family is inviting relatives and friends to celebrate Tom’s life. Visiting hours will be Friday, April 10th, from 4-8 PM in St. Francis Xavier Church, 261 Pleasant Street in Weymouth. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday at 10 AM at the same location.
To read the full obituary for Tom, visit https://keohane.com/services/thomas-f-shields/.