Tusculum College dedicates library and names it after government and education leader Thomas J. Garland
The Library at Tusculum College now is named the Thomas J. Garland Library, honoring a lifelong East Tennessean with a long and illustrious career in state government, higher education and private enterprise.
A plaque proclaiming the name and an oil portrait of Garland were unveiled by business leader, philanthropist and Tusculum College alumnus and trustee Scott M. Niswonger in a public ceremony held Friday afternoon. Niswonger has often said he considers Garland a personal mentor and repeated that thought in his comments Friday afternoon.
As the lead donor in the capital campaign that funded the library project, Niswonger earned “naming rights” to the building, and opted to name it after Garland.
The Garland Library incorporates the Albert Columbus Tate Library section, which dates to 1910, as well as a large, new expansion area.
The crowd to see the event packed the main floor lobby of the library.
Garland, a former Tusculum College interim president now associated with the Niswonger Foundation, was present but had not been told in advance about the honor. Garland reacted by noting his surprise, and giving a “very sincere thank-you” to Niswonger and the 1,074 other donors who supported the library project.
Garland was born in Kingsport, educated in the Kingsport and Oak Ridge school systems, and graduated from East Tennessee State University with a B.A. degree. He received the ETSU Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1973.
His positions in business, education, and government have included chairmanship of the board of Commerce Union Bank (now Bank of America), Greeneville; chancellorship of the Tennessee Board of Regents; the interim presidency of Tusculum College, where he served as a member of the Board of Trustees and is the immediate past chairman of the board.
He holds an honorary Doctor of Law and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Tusculum College. He lives near Tusculum College, and has been a Greeneville resident for many years.
He served in the Tennessee Senate from 1964 through 1985, 17 of those years as Senate Minority Leader. He also served on numerous civic and corporate boards and currently is senior advisor to the Niswonger Foundation, chairman of the Tusculum Institute for Public Leadership and Policy, and a director of Atmos Energy Corporation. Garland currently serves on the Tennessee Ethics Committee as an appointee of Gov. Phil Bredesen.
In making the announcement, Niswonger said that Garland was one of the first people he met when he entered the Greeneville community at the age of 21 as a young pilot. Three years later, Garland, then a bank leader helped Niswonger launch his business career.
Also participating in the ceremony were Tusculum College Board Chairman Dr. Kenneth A. Bowman, Interim President Dr. Russell L. Nichols, Tusculum College Life Trustee the Rev. Angus Shaw, Assistant Professor of Business Administration Dr. Michelle Freeman, alumnus Glen Black, Library Director Myron J. “Jack” Smith, and Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement Susan D. Vance.
Major donors to the capital campaign that funded the renovation and expansion were introduced and honored through the unveiling of new plaques associated with named rooms, service desks and collections in the library.
Additionally, a listing of all donors to the $10 million campaign was published in the event program.
The announcement of the Campaign for the Library occurred April 27, 2002. Groundbreaking for the expansion happened Oct. 11, 2003. The grand opening of the library occurred Sept. 23, 2005. Architects for the building were Hecht, Burdeshaw, Johnson, Kidd, and Clark, Inc., and Fisher + Associates. The general contractor was Rouse Construction. The project almost tripled the size of the original building. The original library structure remains and is incorporated into the overall expansion.
Music for the dedication was provided by the Greeneville High School Jazz Band and by harpist Martha Painter.