Family and Friends of Jeanette Ross Thornton - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • Jeanette Thornton Memorial Scholarship for Nursing | Est. 1968
brick engraved with name Family and Friends of Jeanette Ross Thornton

Family and Friends of Jeanette Ross Thornton

Members of the Thornton family in Tulsa have long distinguished themselves as community leaders. The late Charles E. “Charlie” Thorton was a prominent graduate and supporter of The University of Tulsa. He served as chairman of the TU Board of Trustees, was president of the Skelly Stadium Corporation, was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame, and was named a TU Distinguished Alumnus in 1973. Both he and his wife, Saralu, graduated from TU in 1949; he earned a BS in Petroleum Engineering, and she earned a BA in Art. His brother, Joe, also was a TU graduate.

The President and Chief Operating Officer of Reading and Bates Corporation, Charles Thornton served his community as president of both the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and what is now the Tulsa Area United Way.  A director of the Gilcrease Museum Association, he chaired a multimillion-dollar fundraising effort to expand the facility, while his leadership with the YMCA led to the southside facility being named the Thornton Family YMCA. Saralu was equally engaged in community service, including chairing the Tulsa Opera Ball, and volunteering her time and service to the Ruskin Art Club,  the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Salvation Army, and Saint Francis Hospital. Charles Thornton passed away in 2002, and Saralu Thornton died in 2016.

Charles and Saralu had good teachers in terms of civic leadership. His parents were  E. W. and Jeanette Thorton. E. W. Thornton was a partner in the Seever, Smith & Thornton insurance firm. He  came to Tulsa in December 1919 to work as a bookkeeper for the Central National Bank, and he entered the insurance business in 1923. He served as president of the Tulsa Club, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Chartered Life Underwriters, the Tulsa Chapter of the University of Missouri Alumni Association, the Tulsa Chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Alumni Association, and was former chairman of the board of regents for the now-closed Oklahoma Military Academy.

E. W. Thornton also served TU as a member of its board of trustees and as chairman of its athletics committee, and he  was active in the TU Quarterback Club. E. W. Thornton died March 13, 1967, with Jeanette Ross Thornton passing away less than a year later on February 6, 1968.

In 1967, Charles Thornton and his colleague, J. W. Bates, Jr. of Reading & Bates, established the E. W. Thornton Memorial Scholarship to benefit undergraduate students in any academic major as a tribute to Charles Thornton’s father. This scholarship is awarded based on financial need and academic motivation.

In 1968, Charles Thornton, J. W. Bates, Jr. of Reading & Bates, and family and friends established a second scholarship in honor of Mr. Thornton’s mother. The Jeanette Thornton Memorial Scholarship for Nursing assists students in TU’s nursing program.

The TU family is grateful for the longstanding philanthropy of the Thornton family. Through their leadership, service and generosity, Charles, Saralu, E. W. and Jeanette Thornton helped create important opporutnities for The University of Tulsa community, leaving a remarkable legacy for future generations of students.