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Greenville Community Contributions

Tommy’s leadership helped to bring into being:

  • Hyatt Hotel and Greenville Commons
  • Heritage Green
  • RiverPlace
  • The Greenville location of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities
  • The Peace Center
  • The Bi-Lo Center (now the Bon Secours Wellness Arena)
  • The Cleveland Street YMCA (now the Caine Halter Family YMCA)

Much of downtown Greenville’s growth and development in the last three decades was due to Tommy’s leadership and collaboration with other leaders, such as Buck Mickel, president of Daniel Construction, and then Mayor Max Heller. These three spearheaded the transformation of Main Street from a four-lane thoroughfare surrounded by failing businesses to a two-lane street with wider sidewalks, trees, and thriving attractions for daytime and evening visitors.

When the Greenville Women’s College merged with Furman University in the 1950s, Tommy persuaded the Daniel Foundation to buy and warehouse the college property. This property, plus property that Tommy persuaded Southern Bell to donate, became Heritage Green, which now houses the Greenville Little Theater, the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum of the Upstate, the Furman Upcountry History Museum, and the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery.

Tommy’s vision led him to personally undertake the acquisition of downtown property along the Reedy River that was vacant or underutilized. Over nearly 25 years, Tommy put property together piece by piece, and the land eventually became the RiverPlace development.

For his contributions to downtown Greenville’s growth, the City of Greenville dedicated the RiverPlace Bell Tower and Carillion to Tommy in 2012.

Tommy also served on many community boards, including the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the Greenville YMCA, the Greenville Arts Festival Association, the Greenville Little Theater, the Greenville Symphony Association, and the Governor’s School for the Arts, the Citizens & Southern Corporation and C&S National Bank, the United Way of Greenville, and the Greenville County Foundation.


  • YMCA Red Triangle Award, 2012
  • South Carolina Arts Commission Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011
  • The Cultural Landscape Foundation Award, 2011
  • South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities J. Verne Smith Leadership Award, 2009
  • Buck Mickel Chairman’s Award, given by the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of a lifetime of contributions to the community, 2000
  • Wofford College, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, 1998
  • Furman University, Honorary Doctorate of Humanities Degree, 1997
  • Clemson University, Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree, 1997
  • Olympic Torch Carrier in Greenville for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games
  • The Order of the Palmetto, awarded by South Carolina Governor David Beasley, 1996

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