Respected teacher and scholar, beloved mentor, dear colleague and friend Tom Langston passed away the evening of April 14, 2014 after an extended illness. Prof. Langston began his career at Tulane in 1989, attaining the rank of Professor of Political Science in 2003 and thrice serving as department chair. A distinguished scholar in the field of American politics, Tom’s research focused on U.S. presidency studies, American political development, and civil-military relations. He was the author of numerous academic books, including With Reverence and Contempt: How Americans Think about Their President from 1995, Uneasy Balance: Civil-Military Relations in Peacetime America from 2003 and Ideologues and Presidents in an updated reissue scheduled for 2014. He was active in both the American Political Science Association and the Southern Political Science Association, serving as a board member of the Presidency Research Group of the former. At the time of his death, Tom was actively serving as series editor for Transaction Publishers’ American Presidents series and feature editor for Presidential Studies Quarterly’s “Historical Presidency” feature.
Among the affiliations of which Tom was most proud was his participation as Program Director and Adjunct Professor in Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business partnership with Zhejiang University and its Chukochen Honors College and Graduate Institute of Business, on the Zhejiang Advanced Placement Program Summer Enrichment Experience. This partnership, and Tom’s relationship with it, also included a several-years engagement of teaching “Introduction to Western Civilization and Society” for Tulane-bound Chinese students in Hangzhou. He further participated in the Freeman School’s Pre-Executive MBA Program for Chinese Managers, again as Program Director and Adjunct Professor.
In addition to his affinity as a “China hand,” Tom was a devotee of running, cycling and competitive “Iron Man” trials. For many years he taught the popular TIDES course, “Adventure, Discipline, Obsession: A Running Conversation,” a class on running and endurance training, conducted while running through a variety of New Orleans neighborhoods. Among his many and varied athletic endeavors were marathon and half-marathon races, including our city’s own Crescent City Classic. Most recently, Tom had participated in early 2013 in the famous two-hundred-mile Death Valley bike ride. He inspired several colleagues to join him for long bike tours on the North Shore, and enjoyed cycling in the Arizona mountains as well as along the levee path from Orleans through Jefferson Parish.
He is remembered by all of us in the university community for his wry sense of humor and unflappable good sense and matter-of-factness. He will be greatly missed by his students, colleagues, co-workers, and friends. Tom is survived by his wife Mary and his children, daughter Jessica and son Taylor.
Tom’s family has arranged a service for him on Friday, April 18 at Lakelawn Funeral Home in Metairie.
Visitation will be at 11 am and a memorial service will be at 1 pm.