The Goodfriend School of Business presented the seventh annual Distinguished Entrepreneur Award last week, honoring Carl E. Colloms during a ceremony on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Wallace Square.
Colloms led a career as an attorney, judge, magistrate and real estate property investor. After graduating from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 1964 and earning his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1966, Colloms practiced law and served as a city and county judge before venturing into real estate development.
His company, Colloms & Associates, Inc. Property Development and Management, owned 33 apartment complexes, containing 840 units, as well as five nursing homes. Colloms continued his law career, serving as a child support magistrate until his retirement in 2012.
At the event, Colloms shared a series of pieces of advice with students in attendance as they venture into business, including “be prepared,” “education is important,” “take care of your employees,” and more.
“Education is important,” Colloms said. “An important first step for success in the business world. My time as a student here at TWU was a journey that prepared me for my studies at UT Law school. I had some friends here at Tennessee Wesleyan and a couple of professors who reached out to me with good advice that helped prepare me for UT Law school.”
Growing up on a farm in Charleston, Colloms was a first-generation college student who was only able to attend school thanks to a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) scholarship. That opportunity for Colloms was the foundation for years of philanthropy, particularly in the area of higher education.
Colloms has donated millions of dollars to area institutions, including a $2 million gift to the Proud Heritage, Strong Future capital campaign.This contribution was instrumental in the construction of the Colloms Campus Center, which provides student services, career preparation, academic support and more for future generations of TWU students.
“God works in mysterious ways,” Colloms said, quoting William Cowper, the British poet and hymn writer. “His wonders to perform. I believe that.”