Alumni News


Thomas Chilton Meseroll

Stellar dreams, “The Elders”, and the practical magic of mentorship.
by Faheem Ali, '13


Santa Monica College alumni Thomas Chilton Meseroll enrolled at Santa Monica City College after spending eight years bartending at Verdi Ristorante Di Musica on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica and an even longer stint performing magic on the Venice Boardwalk and in New York City. Tom signed up at SMC in order to pursue a career as a Forest Ranger because he and his wife Jill loved camping.

Tom was nearly 30 years old when he began at SMC and decided to take a class in Geology and Astronomy on his road towards forestry. The Astronomy instructor was Gary Fouts, who ended up changing Tom’s life and career choice forever. After taking Mr. Fouts' class (and obtaining an impressively high grade), Tom had a sit-down consultation with Fouts to talk about pursuing a career in Astrophysics. At first Fouts was reluctant to recommend such a drastic career switch from magician/bartender to Astrophysicist, but Tom was relentless in his quest. Fouts had instilled in Tom the curiosity and drive to understand more about the universe we live in and reality as we know it. Tom worked nights and so was free to pursue his stellar dreams in classes during the daytime. Fouts succumbed and became one of Tom’s biggest supporters. Tom continued at SMC for another year and a half taking all of his required GE classes and Physics classes before transferring to UCLA.

While at UCLA Tom pursued a B.S. in Astrophysics and he even brought Gary Fouts to an invitation-only lecture revealing the first data from the Cosmic Background Explorers mission about the origins of the universe and the Big Bang, which was presented at UCLA. Tom went on to work for the head of the Astronomy department doing research on the galactic center and star formation around HII regions. He was then accepted into the graduate program in Geophysics and Space Physics (also at UCLA) and while pursuing a Ph.D. he worked on the magnetometer instrumentation for the Fast Auroral Snapshot satellite which measured Field-Aligned currents around the inner magnetosphere of the Earth. It was after Tom got his Masters that Hughes Space and Communications made him a job offer supporting Department of Defense satellite programs that Tom decided to leave academia. He was a much older student at this point (35) and already had a wife and daughter. While at Hughes, Tom received a Patent Award for theorizing a method for communicating with the past and the future using satellites with quantum entangled particle communication devices in different reference frames.

Tom stayed at Hughes for nearly eight years before returning to Space Exploration as the Senior Executive for Pasadena Operations and the Program Manager for the Deep Space Network sustainment contract with Honeywell supporting JPL. Tom managed the team supporting the Goldstone DSN as well as the technicians on the floor at JPL in the Network Operations Center. Tom later had a stint for five years as the Director of Systems Engineering at Boeing Space and Intelligence managing over 700 employees over many different satellite contracts.

Today, Thomas Chilton Meseroll is a Director of Engineering in the Space and Intelligence sector of the aerospace industry working for LinQuest Corporation and sitting in two offices, one being onsite at Los Angeles Air Force Base. He is also a senior consultant for the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Directorate. He has also been a martial arts practitioner for forty years and is an expert in Okinawan weaponry. He is a proud member of the Society of American Magicians, the Magic Collector’s Association, the Magic Circle in London, the Academy of Magical Arts (The Magic Castle), and “The Elders”—a proficient group of Mentalists, Bizarrists, and Magicians. He is known as “The Magus: Master of Martial Magic” for his incorporation of martial arts in magic. He has been performing magic around the United States for over forty-five years. In 2007 and 2012 he won Close-Up Magician of the Year for the Southern California Assembly of the Society of American Magicians—an award won previously by master magicians Dai Vernon and Al Goshman. He is currently the President of Assembly 22 of the Society of American Magicians. Tom Meseroll is also a guest teacher at the McBride Magic & Mystery School'in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he has taught classes on Magic & Martial Arts.

Tom is also a pastor and has performed weddings for martial artists in Japanese gardens, secret magical weddings at the Magic Castle, and one ceremony for an agent of the CIA. Over the past ten years Tom has also written two novels, which incorporate all his passions; magic, martial arts, quantum physics, astronomy, and the nature of reality through eastern philosophy. They are called Magus, Master of Martial Magic, Book 1, the Magicians Primer and Magus, Master Of Martial Magic, Book II, Lessons for the Novice, both available on Kindle and at Amazon.

Much of Tom’s successful life story is due to decisions he made while at SMC, decisions that were based on the excellent support he received from his SMC teachers and the world-class education he received while there. Gary Fouts was not the only inspiring instructor that Tom received while at SMC (although Gary truly changed the course of Tom’s history). He found a plethora of other instructors willing to help him on his path to pursue a career in astrophysics. Tom is forever indebted to the educational foundation he received at SMC which provided what was needed in every way to allow him to pursue a career in the stars.

If you would like to learn more about Tom, visit his website MartialMagician.com

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