For Neeley School of Business marketing instructor Bob Akin, graduation is the hardest part of his job.
“It’s like giving up your own children,” he said. “You want to keep them.”
For eight years, Akin has watched his former students walk across the graduation stage and into successful careers.
Although he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from TCU, Akin never saw himself teaching here 8212; or anywhere, for that matter.
After selling the 13 Terminix franchises he owned, Akin said he thought he would eventually rejoin the business world. However when Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Bill Moncrief offered him the opportunity to return to TCU and teach, Akin couldn’t pass on it.
“I kind of view [teaching] as my mission work,” Akin said.
Akin teaches four sections of marketing classes each fall and five each spring. He has also sponsored the American Marketing Association’s student chapter at TCU for six years.
“The students are not my customers; they’re my product,” he said. “If I put bad product on the street, people are not going to be coming back to TCU to hire these students.”
Akin said he has many good classroom memories from the past eight years. His favorite took place three years ago, when the TCU football team lost at Utah, 13-10.
“It was arguably one of the hardest losses,” Akin said.
The team’s plane landed around 6 a.m., he said. At 9 a.m., then-sophomore quarterback Andy Dalton was sitting in his seat in Akin’s class. Akin walked up to Dalton after class and asked him what he was doing there. Dalton replied that he had class and he needed to be there, Akin said.
Akin said that experience demonstrated the “caliber of students we have at TCU.”
But Akin said the best memories usually don’t happen on campus, but at Frog Camp, where he meets new faces and begins to establish relationships. They happen when he is out to dinner with his family and a former student walks up to say “hi.” They happen at the chancellor’s luncheon after graduation, where he meets the families of the students he’s taught for four years.
His office is adorned with a plethora of books. Bobble heads of various athletes rest on the windowsill. The small television in the corner is always on Fox News. If he’s in his office, his door is always open. As familiar faces walk by, he waves back saying, “Hey, what’s up?”
When asked about the most rewarding thing about his job, Akin looked up at the numerous Senior Legacy awards framed and placed above his desk.
“The relationships,” he said. “If you graduate from TCU 8212; you walk across that stage 8212; and you don’t know three professors on a first-name basis, you’ve missed the educational experience at TCU.”