Thomas M. Hatfield

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Thomas Marvin Hatfield
Thomas M. Hatfield at Pointe du Hoc, France, May 2010.
Born San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Occupation academic, lecturer, writer, and historian
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Alma mater The University of Texas at Austin

Thomas M. Hatfield is an American academic, lecturer, writer, and historian. He is a senior research fellow at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin; and director of the Center's Military History Institute. He received his B.S. in Social Science from Trinity University, and his M.A. in history and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California in Los Angeles. From 1977 to 2007, he was dean of continuing education at UT Austin, leaving, in the words of his citation, a "permanent legacy of outreach and service to institution and the people of Texas." In 2011, he was named dean emeritus, a title held by only a handful of individuals at the university,


At the Briscoe Center, his main interest is the improvement of teaching of America's military heritage in colleges and schools by preparing resource materials for teachers. A corollary to this effort is the expansion of archives relevant to military history by acquiring memorabilia, photographs, papers, and oral accounts––which are, he says, "the basis for novels, films, plays and histories that will be written in the future." Yet a third function of the Military History Institute under Hatfield's leadership is recording significant contributions of the University of Texas and its former students to the defense of the nation.

Earlier in his career, Hatfield was the founding president of the John Tyler Community College (1966–70) in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia; an associate commissioner of the Texas Coordinating Board for Higher Education; and the founding president of the Austin (TX) Community College (1973-77.) He is a former president of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association of the USA.

As an internationally known scholar in the field of military history, Dr. Hatfield was a founding faculty member of the Normandy Scholar Program at The University of Texas at Austin, an undergraduate honors program focused on the Second World War. He enlisted in the Texas National Guard as a teenager and was honorably discharged a decade later from the US Army Reserves as a captain in military intelligence.

From his undergraduate days, Hatfield has found understanding and adventure by going to the scene of historic events. He has trailed the great campaigns of the Second World War across Western Europe, North Africa, through Sicily, Italy, and southern France and into Germany. In the Pacific he has walked the beaches of island fighting from Guadalcanal to Tarawa to Pelelieu and swam with scuba gear through the sunken Japanese fleet on the bottom of the Truk Lagoon. He is a national media consultant and writer on World War II military affairs. His current scholarship includes writing the biography of James Earl Rudder, war hero and president of Texas A&M University (1958–1970) to be published by the Texas A&M Press in 2011 and the memoir of Frank W. Denius, war hero and philanthropist.

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