Back to former Tennessee governors
Don Sundquist

Gov. Don Sundquist

  • January 12, 1995 - January 18, 2003
  • Republican
  • March 15, 1936
  • August 27, 2023
  • Illinois
  • Augustana College
  • Married Martha Sundquist; three children
  • Representative
  • Navy


DON SUNDQUIST was born in Moline, Illinois. He received a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in 1957 and served in the U.S. Navy until 1959. He has an extensive business background, including management and corporate positions at Josten’s, a company that makes college rings. He also started his own printing and advertising firm and was a cofounder of the first Red, Hot and Blue barbeque restaurant. His first elected position was in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served six terms and earned a reputation for being a fiscal conservative. He was elected Governor of Tennessee in November 1994 and was reelected in 1998 by a record margin. In four years, his Families First welfare reform program reduced the number of families on welfare from 70,000 to 30,000. During his tenure, Tennessee became the first state in the nation to offer universal health insurance. Through the ConnecTen project, Tennessee became the first state to connect all of its public schools and libraries to the Internet. Governor Sundquist led Tennessee through seven years of successful economic development, topping $6 billion in capital investment in 1999 and garnering “State of the Year” honors for outstanding job creation and investment efforts.


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Governor Don Sundquist's Papers (GP 55) at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37243. 615-741-2764.

Past Governors of Tennessee

Philips, Margaret I. The Governors of Tennessee. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2001.

Who's Who in America, 2005. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 2004.

Recent Tennessee Governors