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Florida A&M University announces death of trustee Thomas W. Dortch, Jr.

021523 famu trustee Thomas W. Dortch, Jr..jpg
Posted at 8:41 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-11 13:00:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida A&M University announced Wednesday that a member of its board of trustees has died.

FAMU said in a news release that trustee Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. died at age 72.

The university did not disclose a cause of death.

“He will surely be missed, not only as a trustee but as an avid supporter of Florida A&M University,” FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Kelvin Lawson said in a statement provided by the university Wednesday. “It is truly a loss not only to FAMU but to the nation. He would be best described as a humanitarian.”

Dortch, Jr. had been a member of FAMU’s Board of Trustees since 2016. He was reappointed by the Florida Board of Governors in Nov. 2020.

His current term began Jan. 7, 2021 and was scheduled to expire on Jan. 6, 2026.

“What a tremendous loss. He was a world class individual from every perspective. I can't tell you how much he meant to us as a member of our Board of Trustees for a number of years, but also as a parent of students who have matriculated from this institution,” FAMU president Larry Robinson said in a statement provided by FAMU.

The university notes that Dortch, Jr. was chairman and chief executive officer of TWD, Inc., in Atlanta.

He was also the chairman emeritus of the 100 Black Men Inc., established the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., and co-founded the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs.

City of Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens released a statement Wednesday reflecting on the life of Dortch:

“This is a sad day for our city. We have lost another soldier. Tommy Dortch wasn’t born in Atlanta. He came here to attend school, and never left. And Atlanta is the better for it. Whether during his days in government or during his tenure leading 100 Black Men of Atlanta and later 100 Black Men of America, Tommy never lost sight of his mission. Long before we called it diversity, equity and inclusion, Tommy was hard at work in that space. In matters of equity, not too much happened here that Tommy wasn’t involved in. Tommy was a connector and a facilitator. He knew how to get the right people together to make something good happen for Atlanta. He was also a tireless advocate for our young people. When we decided that 2023 would be Atlanta’s Year of the Youth, I knew that I could count on him sharing his support and wisdom. Tommy once said that he wanted his legacy to be that he put our young people first. Without question, mission accomplished.”
— Andre Dickens, city of Atlanta mayor

The Florida Board of Governors chair Brian Lamb released a statement Thursday:

"Trustee Dortch was an outstanding leader, public servant, and businessman that sought out ways to share his expertise for the betterment of FAMU and its students."

— Brian Lamb, Chair of the Board of Governors