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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jan. 11, 202111:16 AM EST

University of North Florida founder Thomas G. Carpenter dies

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Carpenter was the first president of UNF from 1969-1980.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Thomas G. Carpenter, the founding and first president of the University of North Florida and namesake of the Thomas G. Carpenter Library, died Jan. 6 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was 94.

Memorial services are pending.

“The University of North Florida and the Osprey community are saddened about the loss of our founding president and one of its great leaders. Dr. Carpenter played a pivotal role in establishing our University and his lasting impact continues to be felt throughout the campus and among our faculty, staff and students,” UNF President David Szymanski said in a news release.

Carpenter was the first president of UNF from 1969-1980. As the founding UNF administrator, he gathered a team of educators and administrators and directed development of the UNF campus on 1,000 acres of timberland and the academic organization of the university.

Carpenter gathered a team of educators and administrators and directed development of the UNF campus

In October 1972, the university opened to a charter class of 2,000 students.

Carpenter was an advocate of the UNF library and it was officially designated the Thomas G. Carpenter Library in 1981 at the initiative of the student government association and approval from the state Legislature. The library, known as “Tommy G’s,” is a central part of UNF’s campus.

While supervising the development of academic programs, Carpenter served on numerous community agencies and other boards and encouraged members of the university community to be similarly involved.

After serving as president for 11 years, Carpenter resigned and returned to his alma mater, Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), where he was president until his retirement in 1991.

Before his UNF appointment, Carpenter’s career included tenure at the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University and the University of West Florida.

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