Professor dies of complications related to COVID-19


Photo courtesy of TCU.

By Renee Umsted

This story was updated Aug. 17 with information about a virtual vigil.

A professor in the Neeley School of Business whose time at TCU spanned more than 30 years died Friday of complications related to COVID-19.

Provost Teresa Dahlberg emailed the TCU community Saturday to announce the death of Professor of Professional Practice Robert Rhodes.

The Office of Religious & Spiritual Life will hold a virtual vigil from 8 to 9 p.m. Monday. A photo of Dr. Rhodes and a white candle will be placed at the edge of Frog Fountain, which will be stilled in memorial. The TCU community is invited to share their stories and condolences in the chat feature on Zoom. Chaplaincy staff will place a candle around the fountain for each comment shared.

Prof. Rhodes joined TCU in 1984, after a career practicing law. An instructor in management and leadership, he taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“His academic contributions and impact on students, colleagues and TCU will never be forgotten. Indeed, Dr. Rhodes’ work will continue to reverberate around the world as his students apply the wisdom learned from his more than 30 years of teaching.”

Chancellor Victor Boschini

Rhodes was named the Honors Professor of the Year in 2020; the Neeley Distinguished Professor in 2018; a Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professor by Poets & Quants in 2017; and the Alumni Professor of the Year in 2008, among other recognitions. He also received the Michael and Susan Baer Award for Outstanding Mentoring in 2008.

Dr. Robert Rhodes. (Photo courtesy of TCU.)

Known for his “booming voice” in the classroom, he facilitated conversation, inquiry and exploration of topics from every angle, Dahlberg wrote in the email.

Rhodes was praised by colleagues and students alike.

Homer Erekson, a former dean of Neeley, wrote in an email Rhodes was his “most trusted advocate for excellence in teaching” while he was the leader of the business school.

“His appreciation for critical thinking and his ability to develop the same in his students was truly remarkable,” Erekson wrote.

Alumna Madelyn Cater, who took a business law class Rhodes taught, wrote in a TCU Admission blog post the professor worked to ensure his students learned valuable and useful information.

“While instilling in me the confidence in my abilities, he also taught me that grades are not everything, and that really learning and taking away something tangible from a course is more important,” Cater wrote.

In the email, Dahlberg wrote there are no additional precautions to take on campus but asked everyone to continue using good hygiene and following social distancing and other safety guidelines.

A memorial will be published on the Neeley website.