Retired TSYS CEO to Lead Columbus State’s Comprehensive Fund-Raising Campaign

Tomlinson_PhilCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Friday during the Columbus State University Foundation Board of Trustees meeting, it was announced that retired TSYS chief executive officer Phil Tomlinson will chair the university’s forthcoming comprehensive campaign.

“We are ecstatic. Phil was an obvious choice from the beginning as we started developing the framework for this campaign,” said CSU President Tim Mescon. “Because of his character, reputation and business success, his name kept emerging as we were asking others for recommendations to lead this campaign.”

Now that Tomlinson is on board, he will work to develop a campaign leadership team and coordinate with university officials to finalize the university’s First Choice Campaign plan. Each college at the university has identified several priorities to further enhance the reputation of CSU as a “first choice” institution for high-achieving students and nationally talented faculty. Among the early goals for the campaign are to fully fund CSU’s new Honors College, provide endowments for student scholarships and professorships in each college, continue the UTeach program that trains math and science teachers, and purchase and renovate the Ledger Enquirer building downtown for the College of Education and Health Professions.

Final campaign priorities are still being developed as new donors are identified, more alumni input is gathered, and leadership changes, said Alan Medders, CSU’s vice president for university advancement and executive director of the CSU Foundation. He also said a goal for the campaign would not be announced until all priorities are completed for the campaign, which is anticipated to last about five years.

“Having Phil officially on our team is a tremendous validation of the hard work and success we have already achieved, and of the plans for where we’re headed as an institution,” Medders said. “He will bring instant credibility to our efforts as we reach out to friends and alumni around the country.”

Tomlinson retired from TSYS on July 31, 2014. He will continue to serve as executive chairman of the board of TSYS until the 2015 annual shareholders' meeting.

His business career began when Tomlinson joined Columbus Bank and Trust Company in 1974. He was part of the early credit card team, became executive vice president of TSYS in 1983 when it was spun off as a public company, and then was elected its president in 1992. Over his tenure, TSYS won numerous awards for its ethical standards and service to the communities where it operates. Chief among the company's attributes, which Tomlinson instilled in its culture, are integrity and treating people right.