Thomas J. Garland was born in Kingsport, TN, in 1934. He was educated in the Kingsport and Oak Ridge, TN, school systems and East Tennessee State University. He served in
the United States Air Force from 1952 until 1956.
Mr. Garland has had careers in business, education and government. He served as Chairman of the Board of Commerce Union Bank, now Bank of America, in his hometown of Greeneville, TN. He also was a founding director of Peoples Community Bank in Johnson City, TN, and served on the Board of First American Bank, Tri-Cities.
Mr. Garland served from 1985 to 1990 as Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the 6th largest public college and university system in the nation. Long involved in education, he served terms as a trustee and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Tusculum College and served in 1999/2000 as Interim President of the College
Mr. Garland served 21 years in the Tennessee Senate, most of those years as Senate Minority Leader. He has served as a leader of dozens of legislative and governmental study groups, including a gubernatorial study of all of state government and numerous regional and national education and government associations.
Mr. Garland served on numerous corporate, charitable and civic boards and commissions including the East Tennessee State University Foundation, the East Tennessee State Alumni Association, United Way, Sequoyah Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Mountain States Health Alliance, Tri-Cities Business Alliance, and most recently served as the first chairman of the newly organized Tennessee Ethics Commission.
Mr. Garland currently serves on the Board of Atmos Energy Corporation headquartered in Dallas, TX, and on the Niswonger Foundation Board of Directors in Greeneville, TN, where he holds the title of Treasurer and Senior Advisor.
He was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by East Tennessee State University and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law degree and the Distinguished Service Award by Tusculum College. Recently, Tusculum College named their new library the Thomas J. Garland Library in his honor.
Mr. Garland and his wife, Pat, live in Greeneville, TN.