Tom Orpwood, 59, coordinator of special events and public relations for the University of Maryland in College Park, died Monday at Prince George's General Hospital after a stroke.

He had worked in university relations at Maryland for 23 years.

Born Wilmer Thomas Orpwood Jr. in Baltimore, Mr. Orpwood attended the University of Maryland from 1939 to 1941.

He then left to enter the broadcasting field. He was a radio announcer in Suffolk, Va., and a news announcer in Jacksoville, Fla., where he also wrote for the Jackville Journal.

In 1945, Mr. Orpwood became a news writer and editor for a Boston radio station. He returned to the Univeristy of Maryland the following year and received a degree in political science in 1948.

After various journalistic jobs in this area, he became an information specialist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1951. He joined the University of Maryland staff in 1954.

Mr. Orpwood was active in the Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce and press associations in Maryland, Delaware and the District. He belonged to Sigma Delta Chi, a journalism society.

In 1955, he was director of the District Convention of American College Public Relations Associations here.

He is survived by his wife, Florence, and his father, Wilmer Thomas Orpwood Sr., both of the home in Hyattsville.