Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Turner Mourns the Death of TSU Debate Coach Dr. Thomas F. Freeman and Offers His Condolences to Dr. Freeman's Family and Former Students

June 6, 2020 -- Mayor Turner has released the following statement about the death of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman.

"Last year, I was fortunate to present a proclamation to the incomparable Dr. Thomas F. Freeman on his 100th birthday and name a day in honor of his many accomplishments.

I am deeply saddened by his death.

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"In 2018, I selected Dr. Freeman, as the recipient of the Living Legend Award for the first-ever Mayor’s History Makers Luncheon sponsored by Comcast. As the founding Dean of the Honors College at Texas Southern University, Dr. Freeman indeed was a legendary figure and an inspiration to students for more than seven decades.

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"He excelled as a public speaker and demanded excellence of the many students who studied under him to sharpen their skills and develop as members of the debate team.

Today, students all over the world credit Dr. Freeman for instilling in them strong oratory skills and preparing them to compete at the highest levels, whether that was on a debate stage, in a courtroom, or a corporate boardroom.

"Over the years, well-known politicians, musicians, and actors sought his advice.

"I was on the debate team at the University of Houston during my freshman and sophomore years. But we all knew that TSU had one of the top debate coaches in the world, and Dr. Freeman motivated me to do my very best.

"I extend my prayers and condolences to his family, former students, and the TSU community.

"There will never be another Dr. Thomas F. Freeman. The remarkable centenarian was a legend in his own time, and the City of Houston will miss him."