Philosophy professor Tom Trimble was beloved assistant dean | Mercer Legends

Tom Trimble. Photo from The Cauldron, 1980

Tom Trimble came to Mercer University on a one-year appointment as an instructor of philosophy and ended up staying for over 40 years. Here’s how he became a Mercer Legend.

Tom Trimble

Mercer connection: Mercer faculty member and administrator

Years at Mercer: 1962-2005

What he did: Trimble arrived at Mercer in 1962 as an instructor of philosophy. In 1963, he was appointed assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and later served as acting dean of the College. He was promoted through the ranks, achieving full professor status in 2002. Trimble retired in 2005 and is now recognized as an emeritus professor.

Why he is a legend: As assistant dean, Trimble served as a liaison among students, faculty and parents. He coordinated the academic advising program, approved schedules, admitted transfer and international students, and counseled students struggling academically. Meanwhile, as a professor, Trimble’s philosophy classes were known for provocative thought and discussion. He also taught in the First Year Seminar and Great Books programs. As a faculty member and administrator, Trimble wanted to be accessible to students, always willing to listen and help. He integrated himself into student life, and because of this, he was beloved among students.

“The Cluster,” Mercer’s student-led newspaper, often featured Trimble on its pages, poking fun at him in a good-natured way. Upon his retirement, about 100 former students and colleagues gathered for a reunion event that included the “Trimble Retirement Roast” featuring a skit as well as heartwarming and humorous stories about the former assistant dean.

Quotable: “Dean Trimble is a man such as Mercer needs in administration … a man with his thumb on the pulse of student feeling. Whether in the snack bar having a cup of coffee with students or colleagues, counseling a student who is failing his courses, or matching brawn with students in a game of touch football, he feels with the student.” — The Mercerian, September 1967

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.

Tom Trimble in 2013. Mercer University photo


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