Former Library Artifacts Delivered to Tomlinson Family

Everett S. Tomlinson Jr. and Tomlinson Artifacts
Everett S. Tomlinson Jr. displays artifacts from Tomlinson Hall that Dr. Russell Jones, Arkansas Tech University interim president, delivered to the Tomlinson family in January 2024.

Even at the age of 95 and even though he has lived outside the region for more than 50 years, Arkansas Tech University still resonates deeply in Everett S. Tomlinson Jr.

Dr. Russell Jones, ATU interim president, visited Tomlinson and his wife, Mary Alice, while Jones was in Arizona for the 2024 NCAA Convention earlier this month.

Jones delivered a portrait of Tomlinson’s father, Everett S. “Tommy” Tomlinson Sr., that was displayed inside Tomlinson Library and the plaques that resided at the main entrance of Tomlinson Library (later known as Tomlinson Hall) for decades.

“Arkansas Tech was Everett’s growing up place,” said Jones when recalling his visit with the Tomlinson family. “His mother passed away when he was 3 and he was raised by his father, Tommy Tomlinson. The son often came to campus with the father, so much so that Everett had a play area adjacent to Tommy’s office. Everett shared with me that when the library was under construction in the 1930s he snuck under a barrier and left his footprints in the concrete foundation shortly after it was poured. Today, two rooms of their home in Arizona are filled with Arkansas Tech memorabilia.

“As an institution, Arkansas Tech has great respect and care for the Tomlinson family,” continued Jones. “The opportunity to share some artifacts from Tomlinson Hall with them was a great privilege for me and a demonstration of the university’s commitment to maintain the legacy of the Tomlinson family at Arkansas Tech moving forward.”

Tomlinson Hall was the library at Arkansas Tech from the time of its construction in 1936 until the opening of Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center in 1999. The Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees voted in October 1954 to name the library for Everett S. Tomlinson Sr., who was a member of the horticulture and science faculty at Arkansas Tech from 1921-49.

Tomlinson served as interim president of Arkansas Tech following the resignation of James R. Grant in August 1931 and continuing until J.W. Hull took office in March 1932.

Following his retirement, the 1950 Agricola yearbook at Arkansas Tech was dedicated to Tomlinson. In writing the dedication, the Agricola staff described Tomlinson as “the modest little man who gave Tech its heart and soul.”

An expansion of Tomlinson Library was completed in August 1966. Since the opening of Pendergraft Library and Technology Center, Tomlinson Hall served a variety of administrative and academic functions.

The ATU Board of Trustees voted to demolish Tomlinson Hall and its neighboring structure, the Administration Building, during a special called board meeting on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. That process began in late 2023 and will be completed in early 2024.

On Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, a crew from Kinco Constructors removed the cupola from the top of Tomlinson Hall in advance of the demolition of the building. Plans are being developed to permanently display the Tomlinson cupola on campus in honor of the Tomlinson family and in memory of the university’s former library.