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Tom Clancy: alumnus remembered

Many Americans know Tom Clancy as one of the best military science fiction novelists and as a New York Times bestselling author, but Baltimoreans know Tom Clancy as a household name. Before he became an accomplished published author he was a member of the Loyola College Class of 1969. In photographs of the writer, he would often wear a baseball cap and aviator sunglasses while holding a cigarette. 

While he was a student at Loyola he was involved in ROTC, but he could not serve in the military because of his nearsightedness. His inability to be a soldier became an opportunity for him to write characters that had the chance to do something he never could.

Clancy studied English and in 1968 had class with Dr. Carol Abromaitis of the English department. Her influence on Clancy was felt years after he graduated for they continued a professional relationship throughout his career. Abromaitis recalls from the beginning of the time she spent with him that she saw in him a determination to succeed. She has dispelled the infamous rumors of failing Clancy, but the gossip continues to be passed down from class to class.

Tom Clancy’s debut novel, Hunt for Red October was made into a film adaptation in 1990, starring Alec Baldwin. Many of the plots in Clancy’s novels are centered around the Cold War and post-Cold War.

Hunt for Red October was a thriller about a Soviet submarine commander and a CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, with detailed descriptions of military weapons that had many people wondering how he received so much information. Clancy did his research for his novels by reading technical manuals, interviewing experts and reading books about the military. A new movie coming out later this year, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, is based off of The Hunt for Red October’s main protagonist, Jack Ryan.

Abromaitis reflected on Clancy’s life, saying, “He had quite a life. There is no doubt that he is the father of the techno-spy-adventure novel. And to be the origin of a genre is impressive.” Former President Ronald Reagan once said about Clancy’s books that they are “my kind of yarn.”

In Clancy’s 66 years, he published 25 novels, four of which were Jack Ryan books—Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears.

Clancy’s novels were also the inspiration for a great number of video games, like Tom Clancy’s splinter cell series, rainbow six series and ghost recon series. His thrilling plotlines that kept readers on their toes made him a memorable and legendary author. Tom Clancy’s well roundedness showed in his successes, which all began at Loyola. Clancy’s most recent, and final, work, Command Authority is slated for release on December 3.

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Tom Clancy: alumnus remembered