William N. Thetford, Ph.D. was Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1958 to 1980, and Director of the Psychology Department at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York. His life experiences provided as indirect a route to  A Course in Miracles as those of his partner and friend, Helen Schucman.

Bill Thetford was born into a Midwestern middle-class family and grew up on the south side of Chicago. He was the youngest of three children and the only one to survive childhood.

Bill's exposure to religion was erratic as a child. Until the age of seven, he attended the Sunday School of the Christian Science Church where his parents were members. But following the death of his sister when he was seven, his parents renounced their church affiliation and he attended various Protestant churches Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational until his adolescence.

It was during this period that Bill developed a severe case of scarlet fever which led to rheumatic fever and a serious heart condition. He spent three years recuperating at home and reading voraciously. Despite his absence from the classroom, he entered high school at the age of twelve. Following graduation from high school, he was awarded a four-year scholarship to DePauw University in Indiana where he graduated with majors in psychology and pre-medicine.

Bill was accepted at the University of Chicago's Medical School for the class of 1944. To help support himself, he accepted a job at the University's Metallurgical Laboratory which turned out to be the location of the atomic bomb research program, where he served as an administrative liaison officer between the scientific community and the university administration. Because of the great sense of national urgency, he canceled plans for entering medical school continuing to work in this research program until the bomb was dropped in August 1945.

The following month, Bill began graduate studies in psychology and served as a teaching and research assistant to Dr. Carl Rogers. After receiving his Ph.D. in psychology in 1949, Bill spent three years at the Washington School of Psychiatry. In 1954, he was named Director of the Psychology Department at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. The following year he accepted an appointment at Cornell University Medical College where he remained until 1958 when he accepted a professorship at Columbia University. That same year he hired Dr. Helen Schucman as a research psychologist.

Since "A Course In Miracles" was published, Bill Thetford has co-edited Choose Once Again, selections from the Course. Until his death he resided  in Tiburon, California, where he serves as a Consultant Medical Specialist in Family Medicine at Travis Air Force Base and as a Director of the Center for Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon.

Bill Thetford died on July 4, 1988.  On that day, not long before he collapsed of a heart attack, he had announced to his close friend Judy Skutch Whitson that it was Independence Day and finally he himself felt free.

.   A Course in Miracles, copyright 1975,
1992, 1999 by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles,
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Temecula, CA 92590-5668

Vita for William Newton Thetford=>

Some Stories about Bill =>

Excerpts from a 1984 Interview with Bill =>

Dr. William Thetford and the CIA=>

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