Trinity grieves loss of business admin professor


Darryl Waldron, right, worked as a professor of business administration at Trinity for 37 years. He is pictured above with his wife, Ayon Wen-Waldron, left. Photo provided by J. Charlene Davis

Darryl Waldron, professor of business administration, passed away on Dec. 19, 2017, following an illness. In his 37 years on Trinity faculty, Waldron served the community in many ways; he acted as a professor, researcher, mentor and member of many faculty committees.

Many of those who were close to Waldron expressed their sadness at this great loss. Nina Ekstein, professor of modern languages and literatures, worked closely with Waldron on a number of committees during his time at Trinity.

“One of the things I personally loved about him is that he had standards,” Ekstein said. “He wasn’t going to cater to make people happy. He was going to be a really good teacher and a demanding one. He was great to work with. I’m very fond of him and I’m devastated that he’s gone. It’s a terrific loss for Trinity.”

Kim Robertson, associate professor of business administration, also worked closely with Waldron for over 30 years. Robertson remembers Waldron as being very honest and direct with students, but also as a valuable ally to those who did well in his flagship course, Business Policy.

“I just remember him coming into my office several times, bragging about some of my advisees who did so well in his class,” Robertson said. “In alumni surveys and when I talk with alumni, what I often hear is that his course is probably the best business course they took in order to prepare them for the real world after Trinity. It was a very unexpected, very sudden and very tragic loss for the Trinity community. Our office suite just seems so very empty without him.”

Richard Burr, retired professor of international studies, knew Waldron since 1980 and was on the faculty committee that hired Waldron. Burr reminisced about his connection with Waldron, in addition to their relationship as educators, and noted Waldron’s commitment to fitness and health.

“He lived not far from us, and back in the 1980s, he had a white Triumph convertible, and my wife had a red Triumph convertible,” Burr said. “We were the only ones who knew the sound of that automobile. Dr. Waldron was one of the most athletic people I’ve ever seen, and we would always know as we heard his car going along behind our house that it was Dr. Waldron going to exercise. It was always at 2:30; you could time him exactly at that point.”

Burr and Waldron had offices across the hall from one another and would often pop into to talk to one another about politics or sports, despite their differing stances. Both had daughters named Ashley, and Burr recalled that when his daughter passed away in a car accident in 1991, Waldron was always very supportive.

“He was always so supportive and caring for us, and that’s something I can never forget,” Burr said. “He was a very supporting, caring man. He’s dearly missed. Everybody that I know has a lot of respect for Dr. Waldron.”

Waldron was a scholarship athlete at his alma mater, University of Memphis, and was a fan of the musical group, the Righteous Brothers. Burr mentioned that Waldron’s students often found him intimidating, but often warmed up to him by the end of their course.

Trinity alumnus Donovan Allen, class of 2017, had this experience when he took Waldron’s Business Policy class during his senior year at Trinity.

“He was hard to warm up to, but once you did, his character was the brightest part of my day,” Allen wrote in an email interview. “Every morning it would make me smile when I would walk into his 9:55 a.m. class, and he would be playing some old jammy tune on a YouTube video. Dr. Waldron’s Business Policy class gave me the analytical skills that allowed me to know how to read annual reports effectively. Thank you, Dr. Waldron. You impacted lives.”

J. Charlene Davis, professor and chair of business administration, referred to Waldron as being a staple of her professional life throughout her time at Trinity. Davis highlighted some of the many things that Waldron brought to the business department.

“He was a very good mentor,” Davis said. “Not in any kind of official capacity, but he had a good ability to look out for early career faculty and help them make decisions that were in their professional best interest as well as that of the university. He was also a consistent and very strong researcher, and that’s important in our department.”

Burr mentioned that Waldron’s research often took him abroad, where he would give a presentation and spend the rest of his time exploring whichever city he was in. Waldron first came to San Antonio for a presentation, and in the same trip, interviewed for his position with Trinity.

This semester, Waldron was scheduled to teach three sections of Business Policy, so a visiting professor was hired to teach these classes. The professor, Mark Williams, has taught at Trinity in the past.

“We may renew his contract for next year,” Davis said. “He is agreeable to that, and we would certainly like to keep him for that time frame, but ultimately either this year or next we will have a search for a tenure track position, someone coming in with a Ph.D. We feel very fortunate because Mr. Williams is someone who has taught for us, and he did so successfully. I feel extremely comfortable and confident that we didn’t just fill the space, but we filled it with the right person.”

Davis also explained that due to a request from Waldron’s family, there will be no official campus-wide memorial service.

“But what we are planning to do, with the approval of his wife, is the school of business is going to hold an informal event so that faculty and staff who care about [Waldron] can come together and celebrate his life and remember him for his accomplishments,” Davis said. “Another informal gathering, just some friends from around campus, will be held as well. We also are looking at a possible scholarship or award made in his name for students.”

Davis expressed her sorrow at this loss, but has experienced support from the Trinity community.

“Darryl was my dear friend. He was witty, smart, charming, kind and loving. Darryl checked in on his friends and knew when to console and when to say move on,” Davis said “There’s no one like him. As a department chair, I really appreciate all of the people across campus who have said, ‘Can I help? What can we do?’ Frequently, we talk about the ‘Trinity bubble’ in a pejorative way, but this reminded me that bubbles can protect you, as well as be a barrier to the outside world. The Trinity community has been really wonderful.”

with reporting by Kathleen Creedon, news editor