Yesterday, the College of Charleston community lost a dedicated teacher and highly valued colleague. Professor Tom Chorlton passed away on January 5, 2014, after courageously battling Leukemia for the past few months.
Professor Chorlton taught courses on LGBT Politics, American Government, Contemporary Political Issues, the Politics of the American Revolution, and the Presidency for the Department of Political Science during the last 10 years. Professor Chorlton inspired countless students to get involved in the political system, constantly reminding his students that “Democracy is a Participatory Sport.” He is also the author of The First American Republic: 1774-1789, a book that Roll Call’s John Bicknell said “gives life to long-forgotten figures of American history who deserved to be remembered.”
Before teaching at the College of Charleston, Professor Chorlton taught history and government at the Lake Campus of Columbia College in central Missouri, including courses on the History of the American Revolution as well as Historical Research Methods. He received his B.A. in Political Science from St. Louis University in 1968. Following graduation, he served as a Peace Corp education volunteer in Rabai, Kenya. Professor Chorlton earned his M.A. degree in Governmental Administration at Webster University in 1977 while employed as a Local Government Specialist with the St. Louis Area Council of Governments.
Professor Chorlton was also heavily involved in local, state, and national politics. In 1975, he worked in Washington D.C. on the staff of Congressman Melvin Price (D-IL), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee. From 1982-87, he served as the founding Executive Director of the National Association of Gay Democratic Clubs (the forerunner of today’s National Stonewall Democrats). In 1988, he ran for an at-large for the Council of the District of Columbia.
Professor Chorlton has also traveled extensively, visiting six continents from Khartoum to Kathmandu, Easter Island to the Arctic Circle. He was self-proclaimed “the World’s largest vegetarian” and a passionate advocate of Animal Rights. He also enjoyed Spoleto Festival USA, live theater, red wine, and spending time with friends both old and new.
Professor Chorlton will be truly missed by students, faculty, staff and alumni of the College.
Tom’s life will be celebrated in a memorial service at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 71 Broad Street, Charleston SC on Tuesday, January 14th, at 2 PM with interment in the churchyard. A pot luck reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made by check payable to the Tom Chorlton Memorial Fund, PO Box 1892, Folly Beach SC 29439.