Leland W. Thornton

Title: Retired Educator
Location: Marshall, Michigan, United States

Leland W. Thornton, Retired Educator, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in history education.

Mr. Thornton hailed from a family who did not learn how to read, so he grew up listening to their tales of their family history dating all the way back to the Civil War. His love and intrigue for these stories led him to pursue the career he believed to be its only equal, history education. Specializing in American history and literature of the pre-Civil War period, English and social studies, Mr. Thornton’s 50 years of experience spans middle school, high school and collegiate education. Notably, he has been the recipient of various accolades, including the NISOD National Excellence Award in Teaching from the University of Texas at Austin. Likewise, he was honored as the Eli Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence at Glen Oaks Community College, as well as named Outstanding History Teacher by the Illinois State History Society in 1965. To add to his feats, Mr. Thornton is the author of the 1991 work, “When Gallantry was Commonplace: The History of the 11th Michigan Infantry,” among others.

Mr. Thornton earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Ohio State University in 1956 and took on his first teaching role at Parma Western High School in Michigan that same year, remaining until 1960. He had also achieved a Master of Arts from Michigan State University in 1959, going on to excel as a teacher and chairman of the social science department at Joliet Township High School and Junior College in Illinois until 1967. Pivoting to higher education, Mr. Thornton served Glen Oaks Community College in Michigan as a professor of history from 1967 to 1995, as well as vice president for academic affairs in 1978 and 1979. He attained a second Master of Arts from Western Michigan University in 1985 and most recently worked as an adjunct professor of art history at Spring Arbor University from 2005 to 2007. He currently holds membership with the Michigan Historical Society and Rotary International. As a testament to his legacy, Mr. Thornton is also listed in the 24th edition of Who’s Who in the Midwest.

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