Volume 72, Number 5

November 1997

The Personal Is the Pedagogical: A Very Brief Life of Professor Stoddard

Robert Murphy

Tom Stoddard–though more famous as a civil libertarian and gay rights advocate–was first and last a teacher. His brother John Stoddard remembers Tom, as a small child in the early 1950s, making John “learn all the capitals of all the states and of every country in the world. He knew them, and he wanted me to know them, too.” And only days before Professor Stoddard, at 48, succumbed to HIV disease, he submitted grades for his “Legislation” course. Despite the sudden physical decline that forced him to cancel class sessions before the end of the semester, he marked papers and exams at the hospital and then from his sickbed at home.