Neeley alumni recall influential professors and mentors who helped launch their careers.
by The TCU Magazine staff
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by The TCU Magazine staff
In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Neeley School of Business teamed up with TCU Press to produce the coffee table book Major Moments: Life-Changing Lessons of Business Leaders from the Neeley School of Business at TCU. Co-authors, O. Homer Erekson ’74, the John V. Roach dean of the school and Rix Quinn ‘71, compiled and edited the collection. Many of the alumni noted memorable professors and others closely associated with the school who impacted their lives. Here are a few excerpts:
During undergrad, I had a sobering situation with one professor that helped toughen me up for the real world. I broke my right arm the night before an accounting final. I went to explain my situation to Professor Sanoa Hensley and asked if I could have a non-business major or someone else write the answers for me during my final. She just laughed – I took that as a no. Instead, she had me sit in the front row, and I took the exam trying to write left-handed. I didn’t finish the final and had to repeat the class in summer school. However, this taught me a valuable lesson. The real world doesn’t want to hear excuses; just get things done! And as a result, my associates tell me my best traits are dedication and determination. I totally dedicate myself to my customers, vendors and employees. I’m determined to do whatever it takes to make the company successful.
D.D. Alexander ’82 BBA (’85 MBA)
I came to TCU thinking that I had to be a business major since I came in through the entrepreneur scholarship. I was always terrible at math and was deathly afraid of Neeley’s applied calculus requirement. I sat through the calculus class two and a half times. I dropped it the first time and failed it twice. I had a tutor and went to my professor’s office hours for extra help. It didn’t work. When I knew I was going to fail the second time, I asked to meet with two great mentors: Neeley Entrepreneurship Center Director David Minor and Dean Dan Short. Both recommended that I focus my studies where I was passionate. I was always great at English and loved to read and do research, so I switched majors to pursue a B.A. in English and a minor in business. The business minor helped give me the solid foundation I needed to grow Anderson Trail, and the English degree fueled my passion for the arts. And special thanks to English Professor Bonnie Blackwell, who taught me to love Jane Austen.
Justin Avery Anderson ’09
Bill Moncrief has to be one of the coolest professors at TCU but not as cool as he used to be. Prior to my getting to TCU, professors were allowed to hold court at The Pub if students were over 21. While we did not have that experience with Dr. Moncrief in the 1994-98 era of Neeley, we did have classes in such places as box suites at Texas Rangers Stadium and at local businesses around TCU. Dr. Moncrief, like Doc Williams, was one who judged students on their work ethic and passion for learning – not your GPA. He would reach out a helping hand to help you achieve your goals. He gave me faith in professors, those I often dismissed unfairly as academics. These were not academics; these were people showing us the path to achieve business success.
Ash Huzenlaub ’98 BBA
Stanley Block introduced me to business through a course in statistics that captured my interest. And it’s a good thing, as I had four majors prior to taking that course. His teaching method and the very logical means of evaluating outcomes really resonated with me, so I chose business and never looked back.”
Jim Estill ’69 BBA (’77 MBA)
Words of Wisdom
In my junior year at TCU, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and then build a relationship with M.J. Neeley, the quintessential entrepreneur. He soon became my mentor, and over the next 17 years we met many times. Mr. Neeley’s greatest gift to those who knew him was his time. He generously gave his time to teach, to encourage and to motivate. He was a mentor to many. Mr. Neeley had a pragmatic way of evaluating people: “You judge a tree by the fruit it bears,” he said. His words have had a lifelong impact on my career.
Warren Mackey ’81
Making the grade
I majored in management. At that time, John Thompson ’63 had several marketing classes and also taught a course called Policies, which was basically a strategic management class. We learned how to assess companies and to read annual reports as well as financials. He encouraged me to take who I was and use my strengths to succeed in business. He is still mentoring me some 25 years after I first met him. But I believe the most important thing he taught me was that the person who makes the best grade is not always the most successful in life.
Jay Meadows ’85
I had Rob Rhodes for three classes in a row so he had three opportunities to make an impact or make me crazy. Honestly, he is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever had; he is a true academic and passionate about his profession and students. Larry Peters is one of the most networked people I know. He understands strategy, the psychology of companies and why people interact the way they do. When I was going through some tough times in my career recently, he reminded me that we all need to be open to change. It made me think really hard about who I am and what I do. He just has that effect on people.
Christine Kalish ’03 MBA
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