Campus News

Nonprofit professorship named for retired UGA faculty member

Tom Holland is professor emeritus in the University of Georgia School of Social Work. (Photo by Wingate Downs)

Not many university faculty members can say they’ve established a graduate degree program, but Professor Emeritus Tom Holland has two to his credit, as well as an institute. Now the retired University of Georgia faculty member has a new endowed chair named for him in the School of Social Work.

The Thomas P. Holland Distinguished Professorship in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, recently approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, honors its namesake, who was a member of the School of Social Work for more than 20 years. The professorship was made possible by Holland, his wife, Myra Blackmon (ABJ ’72, MEd ’08), the Riverview Foundation, and members of Holland’s family, as well as friends, colleagues and former students.

“Tom’s life work, and our work together, helping nonprofits improve their performance, better serve their communities and enrich the lives of so many, has also added a richness and satisfaction to our lives,” said Blackmon on behalf of the couple, who often collaborated on professional projects. “This professorship is one way of assuring that others will continue to learn, grow and benefit from the important work of the nonprofit sector.”

Holland played several pivotal roles at the school during a long academic career. From 1988 through 1996 he built and directed the school’s doctoral program, then for the next two years focused on growing its external research projects. In 1998 Holland began a new venture, co-founding the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations with Jeff Brudney, a professor of public administration and policy in the School of Public and International Affairs.

“The Holland Professorship is a fitting legacy for an extraordinary and beloved member of the School of Social Work,” said Anna Scheyett, dean and professor of the school. “It will help to attract a truly exceptional researcher who can advance best practices in nonprofit management, and educate and inspire students who will go on to become highly qualified nonprofit leaders in Georgia and beyond. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue Tom’s work in the best ways possible.”

Along with the Institute, Holland shepherded into existence a Master of Arts degree in nonprofit organizations, now called the Master of Arts in nonprofit management and leadership. Today the institute administers the master’s degree, seminars and workshops for the nonprofit community, and a graduate certificate program that can be earned on campus or online. Graduates of the certificate and master’s programs have gone on to successful careers in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

One such success is Cartter Fontaine (BSFCS ’10, MA ’12), among the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2018, which celebrates young alumni who are leaders in their fields. As CEO of the Athens-based video advertising company DT Productions, he produces positive, human-focused messages.

“I can honestly say that DT would not exist had I not gone through the nonprofit degree program,” said Fontaine. “I apply so many of the values I learned during the program to what we do at DT, most importantly compassion for others. No matter what we are doing or who we are working for, we always aim to tell stories that help people.”

Fontaine also supported the Holland Professorship through the Riverview Foundation, of which he is a board member.

“The response to the call for support of the professorship has been incredible,” said Anthony Mallon, current director of the institute. “It is really appropriate that this endowed chair is being named for Tom Holland. He played a central role in addressing the gap in higher education regarding nonprofit leadership, and in building a strong interdisciplinary program here at UGA.”

Distinguished professorships are endowed with a minimum of $500,000. The funds support the work of a faculty member engaged in developing courses, strengthening teaching and research, and other professional activities. The Holland Professorship is the fifth endowed professorship at the school and the first within the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations.