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December 19, 2012

Marketing professor Tomkovick retires, to be recognized at Dec. 22 commencement

Charles Tomkovick

In 1990, Charles Tomkovick, a graduate student from Texas A&M, applied for an assistant professor of marketing position in the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Included with his application was a letter of recommendation from his major professor, Dr. Paul Busch, professor of marketing at Texas A & M. About Tomkovick, Busch wrote

"With respect to teaching, I fully expect Chuck to be a star, He has clearly proven himself to be competent, enthusiastic, and highly motivated—he genuinely enjoys working with young people and they sincerely appreciate his competence and sincerity."

Tomkovick got the job. And he became a star, as Busch predicted, an outstanding teacher who inspired thousands of students who sat in his marketing classes the past 20 years. On Saturday, December 22nd, Tomkovick will be awarded the university’s medallion and receive the title of professor emeritus of management and marketing from Interim Chancellor Gilles Bousquet at the university’s morning commencement ceremony.

"Coming to UW-Eau Claire to work with our outstanding students, faculty and staff was one of the best and luckiest decisions I ever made,“ said Tomkovick. “The students we serve here are the best of the best, and it has been an amazing honor to serve them these past 20 plus years."

Tomkovick taught undergraduate and graduate courses in buyer behavior, marketing principles, promotion, personal branding, marketing management and service operations management for the Department of Management and Marketing, and marketing for entrepreneurs and small business owners for UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education. He engaged dozens of students in collaborative research, instilling in them a love for scholarly inquiry. In the summer when he wasn’t under contract to UW-Eau Claire, Tomkovick often taught at Texas A & M. In 2011 and 2012, he was one of two faculty members to lead Texas A & M students on a summer international business study tour of England, France, Monaco, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. Students at both universities speak of Tomkovick with great affection, mentioning his commitment to teaching, enthusiasm for learning, and personal interest in them and their activities.

Tomkovick also used his talents to help others become better teachers. He was a charter member of UW-Eau Claire Network for Excellence in Teaching Council and was a mentor to new faculty members in the Department of Management and Marketing. He was active in several national professional organizations focused on marketing education and student success.

He has received many awards throughout his academic career including the UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Teaching award, which he received twice. He was nominated three times by the university for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) U.S. Professor of the Year award.

Outside the university community, Tomkovick was perhaps best known for the Super Bowl advertising research he and UW-Eau Claire professor of marketing Rama Yelkur began in 1999. Their work has been cited in national media such as AdWeek, Advertising Age, CNN Money, Kiplinger, LiveScience, New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Tomkovick and Yelkur frequently collaborated with undergraduate students on these studies which they presented at national professional conferences.

Tomkovick retired from the university in November 2012 to take on the full time challenge of battling brain lining cancer. He continues to conduct research and recently received the 2012 Marketing Education Review Best Article of the Year award with co-author Scott Swanson, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of marketing.

“Chuck will always be remembered for the positive impact he has had on literally thousands of students,” said Timothy Vaughan, UW-Eau Claire College of Business interim associate dean and past chair of the Department of Management and Marketing. “But his true legacy will be the unique manner in which he did so. Chuck did not simply teach marketing. With a genuine personal interest in every student he encountered, Chuck shared his relentless positive energy and life philosophy in a manner that simply made them better people. He is a very special individual, and his impact will continue in the inspiration he provides to us all.”

Tomkovick received a PhD in marketing from Texas A& M University (1993), master of business administration and master of science degrees in marketing and industrial engineering from UW-Madison (1982), and a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and psychology from Carthage College (1976). His resume also includes stints as sales promotion manager for Outboard Marine in Waukegan, IL (1975 to 1980), director of marketing services for Parker Pen in Janesville, WI (1975 to 1980) and general manager of Vie de France in Houston, TX (1986-1987).

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.