Tom Drinan, son of Helen L. Drinan and the late Dr. Francis W. Drinan, and nephew of Rev. Robert F. Drinan, was born November 13, 1948, and grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. Tom attended Boston College High School, graduating in 1966. From Boston College High, Tom went on to Boston College, where he interrupted his education, serving in the Massachusetts National Guard. He graduated from Boston College with Honors in 1973 and entered Suffolk University Law School the same year.
Tom was on the Dean's List each of his three years at Suffolk. He was awarded West Publishing Company Book Prizes for scholastic achievement in Business Associations and Intellectual Property, and he was the recipient of a Section Leader Scholarship. He was an editor of the Law Review, and a Legal Aid volunteer. Tom also worked throughout his years at Suffolk, and in 1975 he married the former Diane Blohm. He received his J.D. cum laude from Suffolk in 1976.
After his graduation from law school, Tom became a full-time public defender with the Massachusetts Defenders Committee. Beginning in the Suffolk County district courts, Tom quickly progressed to handling major felonies in Suffolk and Middlesex County district and superior courts. During his four years with the Defenders, Tom displayed the enthusiasm, forensic skill, probity, and constant good will which became the hallmarks of his all-too-short career, and which personified the highest ideals of our adversary system.
In August, 1980, Tom became an Assistant United States Attorney within the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, Tom was assigned the most complex "white collar crime" cases. He became an expert in the investigation and prosecution of mail and wire fraud violations and criminal income tax evasion. A well-prepared and disciplined advocate of the greatest integrity, his accomplishments included the conviction and return to prison, on fraud charges, of legendary Boston bank robber Theodore R. "Teddy" Green, and numerous successful tax evasion prosecutions of narcotics traffickers. A judicious lawyer, Tom's careful scholarship is reflected in the numerous court decisions which benefited from his uncommon affinity for the written and spoken word. Unfailingly selfless and supportive of his professional colleagues, Tom was also an enthusiastic adviser and judge for moot court and mock trial exercises at law schools throughout Greater Boston.
Tom's "community" and his service extended beyond the bounds of the legal profession. He was a member of the Board of the Newton Community Development Foundation (an organization devoted to the construction and management of affordable housing), and President of the Board of the Newton-Needham-Wellesley-Weston Multi-Service Center (a provider of human services for troubled adolescents).
After Tom's untimely death in December, 1986, then-United States Attorney Robert S. Mueller, III, stated: "Tom Drinan was what a prosecutor should be; he was tough, hard-nosed, fair and compassionate." He was also generous and ethical in all things, inquisitive and creative, modest and kind. He was committed to the law, the fair administration of justice, and public service. The Thomas J. Drinan Fellowship commemorates that commitment and the qualities of the man.