The Denison community lost an inimitable alumnus and champion with the passing of Dexter C. “Ted” Tight ’48 on April 19, 2018, at the age of 93. A California Bay Area native, Tight was among six generations of his family to become Denisonians—from his great-grandmother to his grandchildren, and including his father, Dexter J. Tight 1912, who served on the college’s board of trustees for 28 years.
Ted arrived at Denison a veteran of World War II. As an undergraduate, Ted was elected president of the student body. He was a member of the Freshman PHI Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and Omicron Delta Kappa, and was president of the Beta Theta Phi fraternity. As his son Dexter “Tim” Tight ’74 described, “Dad was president of everything he touched.”
He went on to serve in the Korean War and earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1951. He joined the San Francisco firm Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro before becoming general counsel for Schlage Lock Company and then spending much of his career as general counsel and senior vice president international at the Gap, Inc., where he helped the store expand to international markets and negotiated the purchase of Banana Republic. He retired in 1990 but continued to work for The Nature Company as general counsel for five years.
A man of great integrity and faith, Ted lived his belief in service to others through a number of board memberships and philanthropic associations with Bay Area nonprofit organizations. He joined Denison’s board of trustees in 1978, retiring to life trustee status in 1999. Other Denison service includes serving as national chair of the Campaign for Denison (1988-1994), as a DART volunteer, as a President’s Associates volunteer, and on reunion committees (including his 50th). He also was a career advisor for Denison and member of presidential search committees. With his father, Ted created the Tight Family Chair in the Physical Sciences in 1981. And, just as his father did in 1972, Ted received the Alumni Citation in 2011.
Ted believed in the importance of being able to form meaningful connections with others, despite differences. In his later life, he became a founding member of the interfaith organization United Religions Initiative, which continues to bridge religious and cultural differences worldwide. A peace pole he donated to Denison in the 1980s stands between Swasey Chapel and Slayter Hall.
Ted is survived by his wife of 67 years, Elizabeth Callander “Betty” Tight; his four children and their spouses, Dexter “Tim” (Jane), Kathryn Loken ’76 (Stephen), Steven (Chris), and David ’79 (Janet); and his 10 grandchildren, Dexter “Elliot” (Elizabeth), Andrew, Riley ’14, Peter, Connor, Madeleine, Delaney, Sophie ’23, Charlotte, Griffin.