Home » News » TFAS Mourns the Passing of Long-Time Board Member and Gov. Don Sundquist

TFAS Mourns the Passing of Long-Time Board Member and Gov. Don Sundquist


It is with deep sorrow that we share the passing of former The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) board member, Congressman and Governor of Tennessee, Don Sundquist. He died this past weekend at the age of 87 in Memphis, Tennessee, surrounded by his loved ones.

Don devoted much of his life to advancing the principles of liberty and was an integral part of The Fund for American Studies. He started his journey with TFAS when he met David R. Jones, one of the founders of TFAS and later met current TFAS chairman Randal Teague and founder Dr. Walter Judd. The rest was history when Don was elected as a board member on March 2, 1975 and served until April 17, 1998. During his time on the board of TFAS, he was instrumental in securing corporate support for our Business + Government Relations program and hosted annual briefings for students on the floor of the House of Representatives, which has remained a cherished TFAS tradition ever since.

While Don was a board member at TFAS, he was elected to Congress in 1982 and represented parts of Western and Middle Tennessee. He kept his seat until 1994 when he ran for governor and became Tennessee’s 47th chief executive and then went on to serve a second term in 1998.

Even after his retirement from the board, Don remained dedicated to supporting the mission of TFAS. He established The Don and Martha Sundquist Scholarship Fund to support scholarships for students of Tennessee to attend a TFAS program. He always welcomed the TFAS community with open arms and hosted a TFAS board weekend at the Governor’s mansion in Tennessee during his time in office.

TFAS chairman Randal Teague shares his fond memories of Don during his time at TFAS.

“Don contributed much to the Fund and at a critical time,” said Teague. “He joined our governing board in 1975, only five years after our first program at Georgetown University. The Fund’s faculty had taught courses based firmly on the cornerstones of individual liberty and America’s founding principles. Don was among those who encouraged the recruitment of students who hadn’t accepted those cornerstones, perhaps due to a lack of exposure. He made the point, “preaching to the choir” is important, because it strengthens the choir, but also bringing new members into it is how to win the war for the minds of young men and women. Our 49,000 alumni can attest to that importance. We thank him for his role in seeing to that legacy.”

TFAS alumnus and Congressman David Kustoff ’89 of Tennessee recently shared remarks about Don’s profound impact on the people of Tennessee.

See Kustoff’s remarks here.

TFAS was represented by TFAS Trustee Charlie Black at the services for Don in Memphis, Tennessee.


Recent Posts


Deception and the Fight for Truth with Senator Rand Paul

This week, another exceptional guest joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Senator Rand Paul.

Exploring Liberty from Budapest to Washington, D.C., with Anna Smith Lacey

This week, another exceptional TFAS alumna joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Anna Smith Lacey '07, '08, PPF '12, executive director at the Hungary Foundation.

Remembering Thomas (Tom) L. Phillips

It is with great sadness we share news that TFAS Trustee Emeritus Thomas (Tom) L. Phillips passed away at his home in Newport Beach, California, last week. Tom was a generous man who supported TFAS for many years, including a $1 million gift in memory of TFAS…