Dr. Tom Glennon was an innovator on and off campus | Mercer Legends

Dr. Tom Glennon is pictured on campus in this undated photo negative. Photo courtesy Mercer Archives

During his 45 years at Mercer University, Dr. Tom Glennon was known as a scholar, activist, advocate and dreamer who impacted the city of Macon just as much as he did Mercer. Here’s how he became a Mercer Legend.

Dr. Tom Glennon

Mercer connection: Mercer professor

Years at Mercer: 1971-2016

What he did: Dr. Glennon arrived at Mercer in 1971 and proceeded to teach in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for 45 years. He initially taught psychology and later leadership and community service. He retired as director of social entrepreneurship.

Why he is a legend: Dr. Glennon was instrumental in developing several groundbreaking initiatives that helped reshape Mercer and downtown Macon. For many years, he served as director of the Mercer Service Scholars, a highly selective program for undergraduate students looking to make a difference on campus as well as in Macon and the world. As a result of a grant proposal written by Dr. Glennon, Mercer was awarded $1.9 million from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to develop the Mercer University Commons, which was designed to strengthen the University’s connections to its Baptist heritage and identity while supporting a new generation of servant leaders. He also developed Mercer’s social entrepreneurship program, which launched in 2011 with the aim of teaching students how to start businesses that generate a profit to support a social goal.

Dr. Glennon encouraged others to improve the lives of those in the community and led by example. He founded the First Street Arts Center in 1989 and the Georgia Children’s Museum in 2005. Prior to the museum’s opening, he hailed it as a place that would “remove barriers which separate education from fun, the classroom from life, technology and science from art, professional educators from parents and diverse people from one another,” according to an op-ed published in the Aug. 28, 1999, edition of The Macon Telegraph.

Quotable: “Tom was an innovator, responsible for developing a number of novel initiatives that served to improve Mercer and the city of Macon. … Tom was a joy to be around, funny, witty and always saw the lighter side of things even in the most serious of situations.” — Dr. Eimad Houry, a friend and colleague, at the time of Dr. Glennon’s death in 2018

Dr. Tom Glennon, right, is pictured with his wife and child in this undated picture. Photo courtesy Mercer Archives

Mercer Legends is a series that highlights iconic figures who left a lasting impact on the University and its faculty, staff and students, as well as the community.


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