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.