Jindal School Celebrates Retiring Professor’s 42 Years at UT Dallas
Dr. Hasan Pirkul (left), dean of the Naveen Jindal School of Management, presents a gift to Dr. David L. Ford Jr. at a recent retirement celebration. After 42 years at UT Dallas, Ford will retire Aug. 31.
Family, friends and colleagues recently gathered to honor Dr. David L. Ford Jr. who, after 42 years of service to The University of Texas at Dallas, will retire Aug. 31.
“Where I am and where I started a number of years ago was to really move beyond success to significance,” Ford, the longest-serving faculty member at the Naveen Jindal School of Management, told guests. “For me, significance is having an impact on other people’s lives and then moving out of their way.”
That impact has been felt by both his peers and what Ford calls his academic sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and cousins, many of whom have gone on to careers in academia.
“If I chaired your dissertation, then I’m your academic father,” he said. “If I was on your committee, I’m your academic uncle. If I had to write a letter of reference for you, for your promotion and tenure and that was … my main connection with you, or as a mentor, then I’m your academic cousin.”
One of his academic daughters, Dr. Kiran Mirza Ismail MBA’01, MS’02, PhD’06, is now an assistant professor of management at St. John’s University in New York. She wrote a congratulatory note that was part of a video created for the event.
“May you retire knowing that your positivity, dedication and mentorship inspired generations of doctoral students and peers. You surely will be missed by the academic community,” Ismail wrote.
About 125 people attended the event. Arthur Gregg, assistant vice president for Multicultural Affairs and director of the Multicultural Center at UT Dallas, served as emcee. Festivities included a farewell tribute from Dr. Hasan Pirkul, dean of the Jindal School, and an introduction of Ford’s wife, Jackie, whom he gave effusive thanks and a large bouquet.
Ford came to UT Dallas in July 1975 as an associate professor of management and administrative sciences. He served in that position until September 1983, when he was promoted to his current role of professor of organizations, strategy and international management.
“Forty-two years at a university is just tremendous. He’s been a productive researcher and an interested faculty member, and has pursued his goals for diversifying the faculty as well as the student population.”
His academic career includes varied research interests, such as global team leadership and cross-cultural aspects of stress and coping. His awards and achievements include induction into the PhD Project Hall of Fame and being named a Minority Business Leader Awards honoree by the Dallas Business Journal, among numerous others.
Ford also has served as a leader in numerous associations and organizations, including the Academy of Management, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and the National Black MBA Association.
Dr. Orlando Richard, associate professor of organizations, strategy and international management, has turned to Ford for guidance ever since joining UT Dallas in 2000.
“I always go to him and he’s always there to provide me both career and psychosocial support as well as role modeling,” Richard said. “He’s a great role model for the next generation.”
Dr. Diane McNulty, associate dean of external affairs and corporate development and clinical professor of governance at the Jindal School, worked for Ford as a research assistant when she started graduate school at UT Dallas. She said that she is grateful for his continued guidance, mentorship and friendship.
“Forty-two years at a university is just tremendous,” McNulty said. “He’s been a productive researcher and an interested faculty member, and has pursued his goals for diversifying the faculty as well as the student population.”
At his retirement celebration, Ford summarized his career and life, explaining that whenever he was asked what he did for a living, he used to say he was a professor. He said his answer changed after he taught a course in foundations of work behavior.
“What I do,” he said, “is select a variety of tasks and projects that allow me to use my evolving skills, abilities, talents and interests to create for myself a lifetime of adventure and contribution.”
Ford’s first post-retirement adventure will consist of a trip to Australia, where he will chair the biennial international meeting of the Eastern Academy of Management, an organization that fosters collaboration between U.S. management scholars and their overseas counterparts.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].