Beyond the Classroom : Dr. Tom Badgett

Seasoned ASU professor encourages students to aim high

By Aubree Bailey
On February 1, 2018

Photo by Brit Raley
While not a native of San Angelo, Badgett says that moving to West Texas was the best decision he ever made.

Dr. Tom Badgett, Professor of Management and Marketing and former dean of his department, celebrates his thirtieth year at ASU this year. However, his academic career began in North Texas.

"I graduated from Aledo High School, right between Fort Worth and Weatherford. I started at Tarrant County Junior College in 1967: a long time ago. I was working full time at a factory and taking classes in the daytime. I was planning on transferring to Midwestern. TCU was recruiting there (at Tarrant Country Junior College), and as it turns out, I made the transfer to TCU. The last year I was there, I got a scholarship for the MBA program. After that, I was in the Marine Corps for a year and ended up getting a doctorate at Indian University and stayed there until I graduated."

Badgett returned to his alma mater soon after that.

"I wound up going back to TCU as a faculty member and stayed there for 11 years. During that course of my career there, I was doing some consulting work, and that introduced me to San Angelo."

The following part of Badgett’s career featured a familiar name: "We had a client named Frank Junell, who was the president of Central National Bank. So I was coming out here a lot, and I would hire ASU students to help collect data and got to meet a lot of folks. I really grew to love San Angelo."

Junell also introduced Badgett to Dr. Vincent, former ASU president. Soon after, Badgett moved to San Angelo to take a post in the Department of Management and Marketing.

"It’s the best decision I ever made. ASU’s been very good to me, and I’m really proud to be part of the faculty and the ASU family. I couldn’t have made a better choice. Helping young people achieve their goals and seeing the success they enjoy- there’s nothing more rewarding than a career in education for me. It’s been my life and my love."

While at ASU, Badgett has not only played a key role as dean of his department; he has also become involved in one of ASU’s most successful study abroad programs. When another professor proposed that he assist with the program, Badgett had his doubts.

"I reluctantly agreed to co-direct the program. We went to Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain. It was wildly successful. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed any experience as much as I did that one."

Badgett has been directing the program since then. This year, he and Gayle Randall will lead students through eight different European countries.

Badgett says that by including so many destinations, the students truly get to experience multiple cultures, languages and religions. "My goal is for them to see and experience as much of Europe as possible."

Among the sites they will tour this is summer are a new, yet somber, destination: Auschwitz and Buchenald.

"This is the first time we’ve done it with the students. I don’t think anyone could walk away from Auschwitz and not be changed and know what the Holocaust really meant."

When asked what his favorite city was, Badgett responded with two answers. "My two favorite cities in the world are San Diego, California, and Madrid in Spain: the culture, the people, the architecture, the history; it’s just a magical place."

Badgett explains that while studying abroad has many benefits, there is one that stands out to him.

"One of the best outcomes of study abroad is that students will never think about the world in the same way again. But they will also never think about the U.S. in the same way. I don’t know any one of them who haven’t come back really proud of their citizenship in our country."

Badgett has a word of advice for all ASU students.

"The US Air Force used to have a tagline: ‘Aim high.’ I think that says it all. Don’t take shortcuts in your professional life or your personal life. Aim as high as possible. If you start compromising too early, the pathway to success becomes narrow."

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