Tom Thornburg

Background: Tom Thornburg joined the Culver Academies' Department of Modern and Classical Languages in 1978. He earned his bachelor of arts in German from Wabash College in 1976. He then earned a master's degree from Northwestern University in 1980.

His interest in Spanish began while in high school. In the summer of 1971, he participated in an exchange program to Guayaquil, Ecuador. He spent his junior year of undergraduate study at the Goethe Institute in Munich, Germany.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Thornburg has worked with the Academies' fencing program and currently serves as safety personnel with the crew teams. Mr. Thornburg is the coordinator for Culver's Faculty Intern Program.

He is married to Julie Thornburg also of the Language Department.

Leisure time activities/hobbies: Movies, working outside, playing Bridge, spending time with friends and colleagues.

Most people don't know that I: worked in a hospital ER for seven year and volunteered with our local EMS for 13 years.

Favorite movie: Star Wars

Favorite food: I don't like to eat. If I could, I would simply take a nutrition pill. Out of necessity, though, my favorite food is whatever is on the plate in front of me.

My most significant experience has been: The death of my father when I was 14 and working our family farm alone with my mother.

The person who most influenced my career: The person who told me I was in a dead end job working at a bank after I graduated from college and told me I needed to be a teacher. He then brought me to Culver to interview with John Mars and Al Nagy.

The person I'd most like to meet: Any one of my grandchildren 250 years in the future.

My heroes are: John and Jane Q. Public – the people who work day in and day out to provide for their families and strive to do good things for their community.

If I weren't at Culver I'd: be a retired military helicopter pilot and working EMS on a medical transport helicopter.

What attracted me to Culver: It was the job, initially, but then the amazing physical plant and my incredibly talented students and colleagues kept me here.

What I try to accomplish in the classroom: I want the students to learn the joy learning and enjoy the process along the way.

My idea of a good day off is: to turn off the computer and go outside to casually work on fun projects.

Plans for retirement: I want to work in our woods and clean that up better. I've just built a barn and I look forward to spending more time there.

The secret to life is: ...don't die. The secret to happiness is: Do good deeds.

Best advice I could give a Culver student: Put the books down, close the computer, turn off the cell phone, take out the ear buds...and walk along the lake until you understand and recognize just how very fortunate you are.

The last word: Listen.

Tom Thornburg
Modern & Classical Languages

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