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By Gail Riese
Facilities Management is hosting a retirement reception for longtime Auburn University Architect Thomas E. (Tom) Tillman. Auburn friends and family are invited to join Tom at the Shelby Center, McCartney Suite (third floor) on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, from 4-6 p.m.
As the Director of University Planning and former University Architect, Tom has collaborated in the planning, design, construction, and renovation of many campus buildings.
“Tom has contributed greatly to the development and beauty of the Auburn University campus. He has had a tremendous, positive impact on how this campus has evolved and grown. He will be greatly missed by the Auburn family,” said Dan King, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management.
A member of the Auburn family for nearly 50 years, Tom began as a student draftsman in the AU Office of the Campus Planner and University Architect. After graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, he moved back to his home state of Tennessee and worked for architectural and general contracting firms. In 1976, national economic conditions declined and affected the local Memphis building industry, prompting Tom to consider other employment opportunities.
“A position became available and I returned to Auburn and rejoined the AU Office of the Campus Planner and University Architect as a staff architect,” said Tillman. “I intended to stay in Auburn for three years until the job market improved in Memphis. Thirty-seven years later, I’m still here. I am so thankful to have served with those who have guided AU through great periods of physical growth and campus transformation.”
Tom has been involved in numerous campus initiatives during his tenure. Some of these projects include the transition to a pedestrian-friendly campus with a campus green; a Comprehensive Campus Master Plan; a Landscape Master Plan; the Auburn University Image and Character Guidelines; the Sign and Way-finding Guidelines; the establishment of a map-based building location and identification system; and the refinement of a campus space inventory system. Tom does not claim sole credit for any of these accomplishments but says it has been a collective effort on behalf of a great many teachers, counselors, family members, mentors, and colleagues. “The events of my life and my career at Auburn fit together in ways that only God could have planned. I am so thankful to be where I was, when I was.”
Active in many professional organizations, Tom has met with campus planners and architects at more than 130 higher education institutions across the United States and Canada. He is an active member of the Association of University Architects, the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, and the Society for College and University Planning.
Locally, Tom has served on the Auburn University Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, the Auburn University Regional Airport Advisory Board, the City of Auburn Downtown Redevelopment Authority and the Downtown Task Force. He has also served on the Diaconate and the Session of Covenant Presbyterian Church.
In retirement, Tom plans to spend time with his high school sweetheart and wife of 45 years, Carol, and their family.As Tom transitions into retirement, Facilities Management has merged the University Architect and Campus Planning and Space Management organizations, forming the Office of the University Architect. Tom will remain on staff as Special Assistant to the Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management during the finalization of the Comprehensive Campus Master Plan 2012 Update which is planned for summer 2013.