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FAMU Trustee Thomas Dortch has died

A stately, brick and columned building with a flaming statue in front of it
Alejandro Santiago
WFSU Public Media
A stately, brick and columned building with a flaming statue in front of it

Longtime Georgia businessman and Florida A&M University Trustee Thomas Dortch has died. His death has sparked an outpouring of condolences from leaders in Atlanta and Tallahassee.

Dorch died Wednesday, a day before FAMU’s full Board of Trustees meeting. He was a past president of 100 Black Men of America, a national mentoring program. Dortch was well-known for his business acumen, and often counseled trustees on the ins and outs of contracts, pushing for FAMU to get the best deals possible.

Dortch was named to FAMU’s board in 2016 and re-appointed in 2020. His current term would have expired in two years.

FAMU Board chairman Kelvin Lawson announced Dortch’s death during a Wednesday trustee committee meeting, and in a statement, Lawson called Dortch a “humanitarian.”

“He made significant contributions to this University, both in his leadership and monetarily. He even brought friends to the table to contribute philanthropically to the University,” said Lawson.

FAMU President Larry Robinson said Dortch “understood that…HBCUs are in the business of preparing young people to live their best life.” Dortch was a two-time HBCU grad, having earned his bachelor’s degree from Fort Valley State University and his masters from Atlanta University, now presently Clark Atlanta University.

“Long before we called it diversity, equity and inclusion, Tommy was hard at work in that space," said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens in a statement.

"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."

Dortch was chairman and CEO of TWD, Inc., a business consulting firm in Atlanta.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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