Thomas Hearn

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Thomas K. Hearn Jr (born c. 1937 in Opp, Covington County - died August 18, 2008 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) was an administrator at UAB and then president of Wake Forest University from 1983 until his retirement in 2005.

Hearn graduated from Shades Valley High School in 1955. He earned his bachelor's degree at Birmingham-Southern College and went on to earn degrees in philosophy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. He taught at the College of William and Mary where he was awarded tenure before being recruited to chair the UAB Department of Philosophy. He later served as dean of the UAB School of Humanities and vice-president for UAB University College, a position he held from 1978 to 1983.

As vice-president, Hearn helped launch UAB's Honors Program. His hires, made after national searches, helped improve UAB's undergraduate academic reputation.

In 1983 Hearn was named to the Presidency of Wake Forest University and became its second longest-serving president before retiring in 2005. He helped negotiate the school's independence from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and chaired the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.


  • Spencer, Thomas (August 19, 2008) "Thomas Hearn, former Wake Forest president with UAB roots, dead at 71." Birmingham News