18 Years Later: V. Thomas Dock, 1992-2010
By: Gretchen Hutterli, assistant dean, College of Business
A former colleague of Tom Dock once likened him to that juggler on the Ed Sullivan television show who used to balance a stack of spinning plates on long poles he held in his hands. The juggler’s performance was exciting...and a bit scary. You were always waiting for the plates to come crashing down on him, but somehow the juggler managed to keep it all going. Over the years, I have often thought about this description and how accurately it described Tom Dock.
Tom was indeed the change agent he said he would be when I interviewed him for the dean’s job eighteen years ago. He liked to say that we were always “building a boat and sailing it at the same time”. And we did. It has been quite a voyage.
Always the entrepreneur, Tom was always excited about some new idea or opportunity. Never content with the status quo, he encouraged his faculty and staff to continually examine and improve our curriculum, delivery systems, and policies and procedures, which resulted in the our college leading the way on many fronts, such as our online MBA Foundation courses which paved the way for the Consortium MBA and our undergraduate online courses. Not all of Tom’s ideas worked out and we abandoned a few projects along the way. A couple of his ideas, like the COB laptop requirement, just took longer to implement. But Tom was patient and persistent. I am reminded of the email we received from emeritus faculty member Jim La Barre when the requirement was finally implemented. It read, “Hey gang, congratulations on finally getting something to happen with the laptops. It has only taken 10 years.”
Tom was also very persuasive. Ask any faculty or staff member who took Tom up on his offer for coffee or lunch. Inevitably, they ended up working on some new idea Tom had, or volunteering to do a project for one of his pet not-for-profits, like the Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement or United Way. Tom was a good sales person who always seemed to end up with what he wanted.
Tom had a heart of gold and was very loyal. He would do anything to help a student, faculty of staff member, or friend. He especially enjoyed students and his door was always open to them. Graduation was his favorite time of year and he loved to shake students’ hands and hood graduate students during commencement. For him, commencement represented the culmination of everything good the College of Business stood for.
Tom Dock is retiring from UW-Eau Claire to begin a new career as the dean of the College of Business Administration at Texas A & M in Kingsville. Look out Kingsville, a hurricane is coming your way! It has been a great 18 years. Best wishes always from the College of Business students, faculty and staff.
Join Us for Dean Tom Dock's Retirement Reception, May 13
Please join the College of Business faculty and staff at an open house reception honoring Tom as he moves on to new ventures.
Thursday, May 13
UW-Eau Claire Davies Center
Brief program at 4:15 pm
Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served. Cash bar.