The University of Texas at Austin wordmark
Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Tom in his Longhorn Band uniform

Longhorn Band Banner

Detail of Tom's band uniform


Major: Journalism

College/School: College of Communication

Hometown: Lindale, Texas

High school: Lindale High School

Facts about your family:
Paternal grandmother and great aunt both attended The University of Texas at Austin, however no direct family was enrolled at the university. My great-great grandfather was first to break ground in New Sweden, TX in the 19th century, and in fact I am only the second generation of my family to not be of full Swedish heritage. Father, Steve, graduated from Austin Lanier High School ’74; Mother, Lee Ann, graduated from Houston Westbury High School ’75. Brother, West, is a currently enrolled sophomore at LeTourneau University; Lindale High School ’04.

Why did you choose to attend The University of Texas at Austin?
When visiting the city on family business at about the youngest age I can recall, I became infatuated with the University and its splendor. It was almost an inherent knowledge that the University of Texas at Austin was the most intriguing and diverse university in the south, and with all its glory I knew within my bones that this was my destination and life was my journey. All actions hitherto were advance to my enrollment.

What do you want to do when you graduate from the university?
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network! My bachelor of journalism will supply me with the necessary skills and craftsmanship to enter the media workforce. With a keen sports expertise and indispensable knowledge database I will be able to obtain a career in sports journalism, transferring to the television media with my broadcast experience and coursework. The game plan is that my undying passion for athletic competition will combine with remarkable speaking skills to create one indestructible master of the journalistic field. This will land me a position on ESPN, the world’s foremost authority on sports broadcast.

If you could choose one personal object to represent you (an item you brought to campus with you), what would that object be?
My University of Texas Longhorn Band uniform; I am utterly and forever attached to music and all parameters thereof, and being a part of such an organization has always been a dream of mine growing up. The uniform embodies the always-dancing, forever-singing spirit of music that could be said to be living inside of me.

If you had to choose one thing about yourself to share with the university’s Web audience, what would it be?
If there is one theme present throughout my facets of being you would recognize my innate ability to locate and stick to the things that make me happy; in music only up-tempo and moving melodies will do, in film only Disney can strike the right chord, and in life I battle wicked oppressions to keep the smile fresh. There’s nothing sweeter to a rising day than staying on the sunny side of life, and I’m always looking for the objects and ideals that make me feel good about anything I may be up to.

Who are your heroes?
It’s difficult to narrow the heroes down with so many influences still to count. I can’t say growing up I had one man or woman that I modeled my life after or one person that motivated my actions. My father would never let me achieve anything less than success and for my dreams’ achievement do I have him to thank. It’s safe to say that anyone who ever went the extra mile to make certain they would live their dreams for the rest of their given time on earth would be an influence of mine. Such celebrities and personalities as John Lennon, Ernest Hemingway, and Mahatma Gandhi who fought criticism to do a good thing and impact the world remind me to continue affront against all odds. I truly admire any one person in any field that can make such a great time commitment to ensure that their career and legacy alike will be positive and successful.

If you could travel to one spot anywhere in the world, where would you want to visit?
I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than a grand plateau rising out of the rolling west Texas plains. Driving down a two-lane highway consumed by miles of cornfields only to watch the landscape unfold in the vast distance cannot be done anywhere else much like its done here in the Lone Star State. Many places in the world have cathedrals, rocky mountaintops, ancient architecture, and photographic if not near heavenly scenes to be seen, but only in Texas can you be given all of these. I believe it is mainly the atmosphere and attitude of knowing that only in west Texas does the great American west still exist that gives me goose bumps. I’ve heard the Grand Canyon is quite lovely this time of season, too though.

What are your current favorite books? What books would you recommend to someone you just met?
Jack Kerouac is a genius of prose and word craft, and I believe his greatest and most prolific work is On The Road, a favorite of mine. I look to Ernest Hemingway for the foremost authority on novels, my favorite being A Farewell To Arms, the quintessential tale of love and loss in war. Hemingway’s syntax and language are unparalleled as an author, crafting such enigmatic paragraphs of length and beauty only to have you realizing that you just read an entire page in one sentence, fully comprehensible to every possible expressive human emotion. Moreover, both authors are simply captivating in their work, truly inspiring; their works are truly beautiful to read.

What pushes your buttons? What are your pet peeves?
I try to keep an open mind on the world, but blatant ignorance is inexcusable. The actions that are undertaken leaving everyone else going “what were they thinking” are what I speak of. Certain people do dumb things and behave in ways inconceivable to societal standards. Mainly it’s how people interact. I believe that the world could be more educated on how to communicate effectively if everyone would just slow down and take time to work together. But it’s the ignorance of a blinded self-minded individual that keeps everything from running smoothly. I mean why can’t everyone just get along, honestly?

What music are you listening to currently?
Denison Witmer calmly sings “there’s a lot of questions never asked” on his album Are You A Dreamer? (The Militia Group, 2005), harkening to depths of human imagination. And for as far as I can behold the future, I cannot find one good reason why this Philly native shouldn’t be on the minds and in the voices of all those capable of whistling a good tune at this very moment. Witmer is a rising artist that captivates the mind with minimal accompaniment, complimenting the depth of such songwriting and lyrical value to command one to immediate introversion; his compositions are simply unmatched and amazing. His music, with additional help from Sufjan Stevens, is for all fans of simply downright magical music that keeps you spirited and awake to the joys of the world.

Favorite colors?
Primarily any deep shade of blue (i.e. midnight) catches my fancy. The lighter shades such as light blue, sky blue, baby blue are also fan favorites. However, such shades as royal blue and cerulean blue rub me the wrong way. I’m only particular to blue in such a fashion because it is my favorite. But in any other any case, most rustic and faded shades of any color will make do. No maroon or crimson.

Favorite Web sites? Why? keeps me up to date on the professional and amateur world of sport, and keeps me posted on all my favorite music on that particular label.

Favorite foods?
There is no meal quite like a good plate of Tex-Mex. I pretty much straight inhale a plate of my mom’s home cooked quesadillas, delicious to the core. Shrimp are also an acquired taste of mine, fried and lightly tossed over a bed of penne pasta. And with anything, the spicier it is the better a friend you’ve made.

All-time favorite movies? Why?
If you were to ask me to my face my straightforward reply will forever remain The Lion King. No other movie contains all parts of a masterwork and in such wonderful construction as this Walt Disney production classic. There is simply no movie that can parallel the magic of The Lion King; it makes even the most stone of hearts soften. Other favorites are The Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan, Field of Dreams, and the Sandlot. These are the movies that reach into us and beg for something deeper and more true; these are the movies that bring out the inner hero or child in all of us, sustaining emotions that will leave us feeling invincible for quite some time to come. I very much enjoy The Life Aquatic: with Steve Zissou by UT alum Wes Anderson.

Favorite artists?
Copeland (of The Militia Group) is a band that will remain my favorite for years to come. Their song crafting is likened to that of The Beatles, but combined with the immaculate voice of Aaron Marsh and nestled in the lush pop-sensitivity of guitarist Bryan Laurenson, Copeland (also Jon Bucklew and James Likeness) is only a knock away from superstardom’s door. Others are Mae, Coldplay, and Radiohead. Each are unique to their individual sound, the best at what they do. And nothing greets the day better than any of Ryan Adams’ arsenal of tracks, a folk-alternative workhorse, reshaping the face of rock ‘n’ roll as we know it.

Favorite academic subjects? What are you interested in studying in the future?
Journalism is popular to myself in its effective discussion of the power of the media to shape our society and country. Sociology is quite the same as both seem complementary to each other. Learning about American culture and all its intricacies is very amusing to me, and it’s great to be educated on new and different things about the very country before me.

Favorite spot on campus?
There’s no place I’d rather be than on the field of Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium each Saturday, performing for the most electric atmosphere possible. The sights and sounds that coincide with the fall football season are very unique to Texas and its universities. On the field during the pre-game performances spirits soar to the heights of the volume, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s just no better place to experience a good time at a great university feel like you belong than to cheer on and support the Longhorns toward a national championship Rose Bowl victory in 2006.

Favorite places to go in Austin? Favorite things to do in Austin?
Stubb’s Barbeque is frequented quite often; it is my favorite venue for live music as it attracts a wide array of artists in a suitable atmosphere, all of which are to my liking. And I definitely couldn’t go without my weekly fix of Waterloo Records, my second, er, third home. These are the places and things I like to do most, watch, listen, and purchase music. I enjoy a good game of disc golf as well.

Favorite free-time activities?
I can always be found with my stereo on and picking away on my guitar. It’s nothing special but it bides my time well and helps to soothe me in times. Nothing has quite the aesthetic value as a good song.

Interesting facts about you:
Although I carry a big flag in the Longhorn Band, I am a percussionist by trade. I’ve never been in a relationship. I put picante sauce on most anything. At age 6 you couldn’t have told me I wasn’t superman. I was voted “Most School Spirit” of my graduating class. If examined, a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder is not out of reason. Words cannot wholly express the joy it brings me to be a Longhorn. And you wouldn’t know this, but I’m a Capricorn.

   Inside UT | UT Home | UT Directory | UT Offices A-Z | Campus & Parking Maps | UT Site Map | Calendars | UT Direct | Accessibility
   Send e-mail to Tom   |   For admissions information visit Be a Longhorn