James H. Quillen is directly responsible for East Tennessee State College becoming a university, due to his role in drafting the bill in the Tennessee legislature that changed the school's name to East Tennessee State University in 1963. He is also responsible for the single most significant development in the recent history of ETSU -- the establishment of the College of Medicine that now bears his name. Since its founding, nearly 1000 doctors have graduated from the James H. Quillen College of Medicine.
In 1985, our honoree contributed funds to create an endowed chair of excellence -- the Cecile Cox Quillen Chair of Medicine in Geriatrics and Gerontology. Two years later he and his wife were named Honorary Alumni of ETSU. He holds honorary membership in the ETSU Foundation and is a member of the Distinguished President's Trust. He also created the James H. Quillen Chair of Excellence in Education.
He began his public service career in 1955 when elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives. Since 1962, he has represented the First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives and is the dean of Tennessee's Capitol Hill delegation.
Our honoree was a delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention in 1956, and a delegate to the 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1992 GOP conventions. He also served on the podium as parliamentarian during the conventions of 1980, 1984, and 1988. Throughout his career in government service, he has been a vocal supporter of the Veterans Administration and a friend to those who fought in the nation's military conflicts.
At every important point in the recent history of ETSU, our honoree has stood up for the best interests of the university. Much of our recent success can be directly attributed to his strong advocacy on our behalf locally, statewide, and on the national scene. The ETSU National Alumni Association is most proud to recognize one of the greatest friends ETSU has ever had.
Congressman James H. Quillen was recipient of the George L. Carter Award in 1993.