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WesFiles Alumni Feature: Tom Themistocles ’99

Themistocles with his wife, Tara, and their four children – Ava, Rocco, Thomas, and Sal.
Themistocles with his wife, Tara, and their four children – Ava, Rocco, Thomas, and Sal.

-- By Natalia Chino '23 -- 

Tom Themistocles '99 was born in Hanover, Massachusetts as the eldest of three siblings. Growing up, he liked his small, blue-collar hometown that was just south of Boston, often referring to it as, "the center of the universe." He was raised by his parents Harry and Roberta, who were incredibly proud that he and his siblings all graduated from NESCAC institutions, as both Tom and his brother attended Wesleyan and their sister graduated from Trinity.

As a first-generation college student, Themistocles feels immensely grateful to his parents for helping him navigate the college application process, and for their support of his ambition to further his education. Luckily for him, because he excelled both on and off the field throughout high school, he was recruited by several high academic institutions who provided the opportunity for him to continue playing football. Although he had many options, he felt that the decision to choose Wesleyan was an easy one. His experiences during a football recruiting visit in April opened his eyes to the diverse campus that encouraged independent thinkers, and after meeting several students that were passionate about their love for the school, his decision was solidified.

After Themistocles matriculated, he quickly found himself a new center of the universe, a home away from home at Wesleyan. He formed close relationships with several of his teammates, which ultimately led to a couple of very successful seasons during his career.

During the 1997 campaign, Themistocles recalls one of his favorite memories from his time as a Cardinal. The team had not won a game against Little Three rival Williams in 11 years and the stakes were high as the crowd gathered for Homecoming. The electrifying energy and positive spirits of his teammates motivated Themistocles, as he scored three touchdowns to help lift Wesleyan past Williams in the historic 28-14 victory. The team went on to finish the season with a 7-1 mark, its best record in 28 years.    

The 1998 season proved to be another great campaign for the Cardinals, as Themistocles finished his senior year on a high note. The final game of his career saw a 49-35 triumph over in-state rival Trinity. During the victory, he scored three touchdowns, blocked a punt and tackled a Bantam tight end on the one-yard line to help lead Wesleyan past Trinity.

Themistocles' mark is still sprinkled throughout the record books at Wesleyan, as he holds three individual and one team record. He is still tied for first in most points in a season (289), most rushing touchdowns in a season (13), and most consecutive 100-yard rushing games in a season (5). The 1998 team that he was a part of also still holds the record for total offense with 3,386 yards.

Aside from football, Themistocles was thankful for having the opportunity to discover his passion for international politics at Wesleyan. Throughout his coursework, he enjoyed learning about power and change, war and peace, wealth and poverty, conflict and collaboration, and understanding patterns of behavior between different countries in the world. While he was not able to study abroad during his undergraduate studies, his successes on the field provided him the chance to play for the Copenhagen Towers of the European Federation of American Football (EFAF) after graduation. As a 23-year-old, he used his background in international politics and government from Wesleyan, to engage in a new country and adapt to a new cultural environment.

Following his one-year stint playing in the EFAF in Denmark, Themistocles moved back to the states, eventually taking a job on Wall Street. His career had some twists and turns that allowed him to take advantage of unique opportunities such as a hedge fund job in St. Thomas USVI for five years.

Coming to Wesleyan, Themistocles did not have to choose just one thing to pursue, which made his time versatile and fulfilling. He credits his undergraduate education and playing experience with preparing him for an intense, high stress and fast-paced work environment, while also setting him up for a successful and accomplished career.