C-N news office
JEFFERSON CITY — Former Carson-Newman University President J. Cordell Maddox died July 22 at the age of 86.
Maddox was installed as Carson-Newman’s 20th president in 1977. He served 22 years before retiring in 2000. He came to Jefferson City with his wife Brona from Anderson (S.C.) College, where he was president for seven years.
During his tenure at Carson-Newman, Maddox helped oversee the Strategic Plan in 1987 that led the school to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report several times over and by Money magazine as one of its Top 100 buys. His tenure also saw the development of the institution’s graduate program and an increase in enrollment.
Financial contributions to the university were a hallmark of the Maddox years. A fundraising effort called “Vision ‘80” enabled the construction of the university’s current Tarr Music Center.
An “Of Minds and Miracles” campaign led to the building of C-N’s student center in 1993. In a surprise announcement, the facility was named the Maddox Student Activities Center following a retirement event honoring the beloved leader in 1999.
Current Carson-Newman president J. Randall O’Brien observed that Maddox “was a dear friend of mine and was dearly loved by the Carson-Newman family. From the day Kay and I arrived on campus, he supported us and encouraged us. He was a good, good man. Our campus flag will fly at half-staff in honor of our legend and friend.”
O’Brien added that the “number of years he served this institution speaks volumes to his and his wife Brona’s love for this special place. That length of time of presidential service may never be broken. Our prayers and sympathies are with his family.”
Jeanette Blazier, former mayor of Kingsport and a chair of C-N’s board of trustees during Maddox’s tenure, recalled that Maddox “was a warm, caring, relational, team building leader.”
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, expressed his sympathy. “On behalf of our Tennessee Baptist network of churches, we extend our condolences to the Maddox family as well as the Carson-Newman University family,’ David said.
Maddox was preceded in death by his wife Brona who died earlier this year. He is survived by four children, 12 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. B&R — Article includes reporting by B&R editor Lonnie Wilkey.