Tom Ledford

Thomas H. Ledford entered the University of Georgia in 1960 as a General Motors Scholar after graduating from Swainsboro, GA High School. He had decided to become a chemist at age 12 and never changed. He was enrolled in the Honors Program in its first year. Tom graduated four years later at the top of his class of the ACS-Certified B.S. in Chemistry Program. He received the Merck Award, the American Association of Chemists Award, and a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship.

Tom spent four years at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee, before entering graduate school at the University of Florida in 1968, where five years later he graduated with a Ph.D. in chemistry. While at UF he received the DuPont Award for Excellence in Teaching and was hired as junior faculty while he was still a student.

Tom decided on an industrial chemistry career and worked at Exxon Research and Development Labs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While at Exxon he invented the Exxon Sulfur Degassing Process which came to be used worldwide. His work for this and other projects took him to Canada, Florida, Texas, California, France, the United.Kingdom and Japan. He later worked at Rubicon Chemical Company, also near Baton Rouge, where he handled the scale-up of new products for their introduction into their first commercial production.

During his working career, Tom took an active interest in special education for gifted students and was one of the founding members of the Louisiana Association for Gifted and Talented Students.

In retirement from the chemical industry, Tom has adapted the classic English novel, Silas Marner, into modern language. The book, released in 2011 and titled Silas Marner in Modern Language, is available at, and in Europe from W.H. Smith. It is intended to improve readability and reintroduce modern readers to classics that have become difficult as the language and writing styles change over the years.

He has been married for 46 years to the former Joan McDaniel, a graduate of Auburn University. Tom and Joan have two grown sons, one of whom practices law in northern Georgia, and another who does contract computer accounting in the U. S. State Department.