category: Faculty Emeriti

Glenn Bottoms

Professor Emeritus of Economics and Management

Glenn Bottoms

Dr. Glenn Bottoms was born one of five children to Ary Glenn Bottoms and Emily Blackman Bottoms in 1946 in Emory, Ga., and passed away on May 12, 2023. He always assumed he would be a teacher. Three generations before him taught science, and he had ancestors that taught before the Civil War. Bottoms continued the teaching tradition. He truly loved watching students become interested and passionate about the knowledge he was relaying to them.

Bottoms attended his hometown university, Emory. There he pursued a degree in economics and political science—and a young woman named Nancy Rogers. At Emory, Bottoms ran and lettered in cross country and track. He was also president of Alpha Phi Omega, a campus service organization.

Upon graduating Emory in 1969, Glenn and Nancy were married. Both taught middle school for two years and then the couple moved to Pukatawagan, a town in Manitoba, Canada. They had responded to a newspaper ad to teach junior high at a Federal Reserve school. Bottoms remembers celebrating temperatures of 32 degrees because above freezing meant spring was on its way.

Bottoms completed his Master of Arts in Economics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. The Bottoms returned to Georgia and warmer weather where Bottoms obtained is Ph.D. in Economics in 1981 from Georgia State University in Atlanta. Durning his doctoral studies, Bottoms taught at Western Carolina University as an Assistant Professor of Economics and as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at West Georgia University in Carrolton.

While functioning as president and general manager of Computer Alternatives Inc. based in Asheville and Wilmington, N.C., Bottoms heard about a teaching opportunity in Gardner-Webb University’s Broyhill School of Management. John Dryer, Associate Dean (Provost), interviewed Bottoms and offered him the job. Bottoms accepted and, in 1985, became the first professor in the GWU business program with a Ph.D.

Unlike the larger universities where he had taught such as Western Carolina and George Washington University, Gardner-Webb offered him the chance to get to know his students. He was a firm believer that teaching the individual was the most important aspect of being a professor. He valued the relationships and Christian environment a school the size of Gardner-Webb offered him. “That’s why I wanted to teach,” he commented. “I wanted to know the students.”

Gardner-Webb foresaw the importance of technology and sent Bottoms to George Washington University as a Visiting Associate Professor. There he completed postdoctoral studies in Engineering Management in Information Technology. He returned to GWU and served as the lead professor of management information systems and computer science.

Technology was an ever-changing and developing field. Internet did not make its way to Boiling Springs until 1995. “At one time I had the most powerful computer in all of Boiling Springs,” Bottoms laughed. The computer science students would come to the Bottoms’ residence to use his computer and end up staying the whole night. It was an exciting time to be in the technology sector.

Bottoms spoke extensively at educational conferences about his knowledge of economics and computer information systems with talks such as: “Further Analysis of Stability of General Economic Equilibrium: Applications of Differential Topology,” “Cognitive Factors in Graphical Human-Computer Interfaces” and “International Trade Policies and Development in Third World Countries.” He also contributed to the Laudon and Laudon textbook, Essentials of Management Information Systems, second through fifth editions.

In addition to his degrees, publications and speaking experience, Bottoms could read, write and speak French and Cree, an aboriginal language of Canada. He could also read and understand Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

At Gardner-Webb, Bottoms was a member of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) planning committee, chair of two subcommittees for reaccreditation, and faculty parliamentarian. Within his community, Bottoms served as a board member for the Cleveland County chapter of Habitat for Humanity and as a board member for Cleveland County Coalition for the Homeless.

 Bottoms shared a special connection with the international students, recalling how bright and full of energy they were. He and Nancy often opened their home to them. He remembers enlisting the help of a college benefactor to provide funds for a student to return home to Guatemala to be with his family after the death of his sister.

“Good place, good students, good people,” Bottoms stated about his years at Gardner-Webb. Since 1985, Dr. Glenn Bottoms, his wife, Dr. Nancy Bottoms, and their son, Ary Bottoms, a GWU graduate and employee, chose to make Gardner-Webb and Boiling Springs their home.

Source: Personal Interview—Jackie Bridges

Written by GWU 2020 alumna Claire Coile, October 2020

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