Tom Buchanan's career in higher education has spanned more than 35 years, as a student, teacher, and administrator.
A native of New York, Buchanan attended the State University of New York at Cortland where he graduated with his undergraduate degree in 1973. He earned his master's of science from the University of Wyoming in 1975 and a Ph.D. from the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979.
After completing his doctorate, Buchanan returned to Wyoming as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Wyoming. Over the next 30 years, he rose through the faculty ranks to full professor, and has held various administrative positions including department head, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and vice president for academic affairs. On July 1, 2005, he was appointed the 23rd president of the University of Wyoming.
As UW president, Buchanan's priorities for the University have included excellence in academics, promoting access to higher education in Wyoming, and enhancing economic and workforce development in Wyoming.
Under Buchanan's direction, the University has experienced extraordinary success with the Wyoming State Legislature, resulting in unprecedented support for the University, including the allocation of $82 million in state matching dollars for private contributions as well as more than 100 new faculty positions. Buchanan was instrumental in helping shape legislation that established programs supporting higher education throughout Wyoming, including the Hathaway Scholarship Program and the Excellence in Higher Education Endowment.
In the years since he assumed the presidency, UW has experienced record breaking growth in private giving and research funding and has seen more than $500 million dollars in capital construction projects. In addition, Buchanan's leadership was evident in the development of the UW School of Energy Resources, the successful negotiation of contracts with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Science Foundation to establish a supercomputing facility in Wyoming, and with General Electric for the development of a coal gasification research facility.
Like most colleges and universities, recent economic conditions have impacted UW, and Buchanan led the University through its most significant budget reduction in the history of the institution in order to meet budget objectives of the State of Wyoming.
Buchanan is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing excellence in teaching and administration, including the Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching award and the Seibold Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences. He serves on the governing boards of the Mountain West Athletic Conference, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications. He is Wyoming's representative to State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).
Buchanan is married to Jacque, whom he met while a student at UW. They are the proud parents of Eric and grandparents of Bradley.