Nordstrom sets his sails

Thomas Nordstrom, professor of Political Science & Business Law is planning to sail away from MCCC.
At 65, Nordstrom is officially retiring on Jan. 9, but he will be done on Dec. 15. When asked about his future plans, his eyes had a thousand-yard stare as he looked at the ceiling.
His future includes boating and visiting his children, as well as keeping his second job as a judge.
“I’m a small claims court judge,” he said. “I’m also a boater; I have a 40-foot Silverton, so I plan on taking my wife on a few four to six week boating trips.
   “Also, my kids are spread around the country, from Orlando, to Houston, to Denver. I’d like to go visit them.”
Nordstrom has been a member of the North Cape Yacht Club for 37 years, he established the Law Enforcement Program in 1968, which is now the Criminal Law program, and has been nominated Teacher of the Year a few times over the course of his tenure.
At one point during his career, Nordstrom worked full-time at both MCCC and his law practice, retiring from law after 24 years. He notes the changes that have occurred since he was first hired.
 “Most people coming up now won’t be able to do what I did, stay at the same school for 40 years.
     “If you look at the registration booklet, you’ll see Staff where the name of the instructor is. That’s because the school is hiring adjuncts instead of full-time teachers like me,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to be here for 40 years.”
“It’s been a good gig,” Nordstrom said. “If I gotta’ work, I’d rather work here. I’ve really enjoyed the faculty, administrators, and the students.”
Nordstrom has had an impact on the students he teaches, such as former MCCC student Sam McNamara, who changed her career path because of him.
“I switched my major to law after enrolling in Professor Nordstrom’s illustrious political science class. The man is a walking encyclopedia of politics and never gave a dry lecture. He places abstract concepts into perspective and brings a wealth of experience as both a judge and lawyer to the classroom. He’s a no-nonsense professional,” McNamara said.
Nordstrom has also impressed and earned the respect of his peers here at MCCC. Vinnie Maltese, acting dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, speaks highly of him.
“Professor Nordstrom has been instrumental in the development of our Criminal Justice Program. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and a Jurist Doctor degree,” Maltese said. “These credentials have provided Professor Nordstrom the academic acumen required to be successful in any one of a wide range of very lucrative fields of endeavor, but he chose a lifetime of teaching over them. This speaks volumes to the type of person he is.”
“I wish him the very best as he moves to his next endeavor and thank him for the many years of service to the College, its students, and the community.”
Jim Devries, professor of History, has known Nordstrom since 1970 when he was hired by MCCC.
“Tom is loyal, dependable, always supportive,” Devries said. “We’re buddies and though we differ in our political persuasion in philosophy, we’ve never let that come between us.”
Starting a year after Nordstrom, Devries has worked with him in bringing the college to its current level.
“Nobody can do what we did, we grew the college together, bringing it to what it is today,” Devries said. “We’ve experienced the golden years together.”
Devries may be retiring himself next June, following Nordstrom.
Known by many students for a small jar he carries with him, Nordstrom plans on taking it with him when he leaves, as well as his dry sense of humor.
“It’s a fruit jar with water to keep my whistle wet because I mostly lecture,” he said. “Some people have wondered if I had anything other than water in there.”
Nordstrom, his wife, and his Silverton will most likely have no problem finding anything other than water as they sail away from MCCC.