The founders and their family
Sir John Rupert Hunt. Thouron, K.B.E. (1907-2007), the son of an American father (with Huguenot roots) and a British mother, was born and raised in England. On the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders and was subsequently commissioned in the Black Watch. Later, he was seconded to the Special Operations Executive, headquartered in Bletchley, with the primary mission of sending personnel, including both U.K. and escaped European military personnel, into occupied countries to sabotage communications and create resistance movements. Later in the war he became part of an organization formed for the purpose of foiling any attempts to massacre prisoners of war as the war drew to its close.
Inspired by seeing British and American troops fighting side-by-side during the war, he was driven to create the Thouron Award. In 1976, on her visit to the United States for the American Bicentennial, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Sir John in recognition of his dedication to Anglo-American friendship.
Lady Thouron, Esther (“Essie”) Driver du Pont Thouron (1908-1984), a member of the du Pont family of American industrialists, was a noted horse breeder and philanthropist. She helped build the clinic and hospital at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center.
John Julius Thouron, O.B.E. (“Tiger”) (1934-2006), the son of Sir John and Lorna Thouron, was a dedicated sportsman and conservationist. Deeply involved with the Thouron Award for more than 30 years, he was beloved by Scholars for his wit, humor, and irreverence. He received an O.B.E. in 2003 in recognition of his service to the Award.
John Rupert Thouron and Rachel Thouron Vere Nicoll, Tiger’s children, are actively engaged with the Award. They serve on the British and American Selection Committees, and they entertain current scholars.