FORT WORTH, Texas — Robert Todd Rhodes passed away on August 14, 2020, at the age of 65. His loss leaves a devastating hole in the hearts of his wife and son, as well as students, alumni, faculty and staff at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, where he taught business law for more than 35 years.
Rob loved his family, friends, teaching, traveling, cooking, music, and dogs.
He and his family traveled to Europe, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, Fiji, and many other locations. He especially loved Italy, where he attended cooking school and, because of that, later became the family chef. He played piano and enjoyed listening to all kinds of music. His first job out of high school was playing keyboards in a band on the road. He loved dogs and had many in his household over the years.
Rob married his wife Andrea (Harbusch) in 1996 in a civil ceremony in Kentucky, followed by a wedding ceremony in the centuries-old church in Germany where Andrea’s parents married. Their son Jacob was born in 2002. Jacob is aspiring to be like his dad and follow in his footsteps to acquire a law degree.
Rob originally pursued a career in law and quickly discovered that while he loved law, he did not relish being a lawyer. He found his true passion in teaching, and it showed. Current and past TCU students recall his long-standing impact on their lives, his kindness, mentorship, humor, grace, impeccable knowledge, and profound desire to see them think beyond memorizing and instead approach business problems from all angles.
His quiet demeanor outside of the classroom was often misleading. Inside his classes, students were immediately captivated by his booming voice and animated style of sitting on his desk and then jumping up and pacing, and standing on tiptoes to make a point. He was known for his empathy and thoughtfulness with students who came to him for advice, whether academic, professional, or personal.
Rob was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, on October 26, 1954. He was admitted early to law school and graduated eighth in his class with a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Baylor University School of Law in 1980. He earned his Masters of Law in 1992 from Tulane University School of Law, where he graduated in the top three. He attended Harvard’s program of instruction for lawyers in 1987.
Rob’s law practice was brief. He was an associate attorney with Michener, Swindle from 1980-1982, and partner with Knight and Rhodes from 1982-1984. He was hired by TCU as an adjunct faculty member in 1982. In 1984 he became a fulltime lecturer, and in 2003 he was promoted to Associate Professor of Professional Practice.
At TCU, he taught business law to undergraduate and graduate students, and he did it well. He was awarded 2020 Honors Professor of the Year by the John V. Roach Honors College; Neeley Fellows Class of 2020 Outstanding Faculty, Neeley Distinguished Professor in 2018, Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professor by Poets & Quants in 2017, Best MBA Professor seven times, EMBA Outstanding Faculty several times, Neeley Alumni Professor of the Year in 2008; and the Michael and Susan Baer Award for Outstanding Mentoring in 2008.
Rob is survived by his wife Andrea and son Jacob; brother Allan Rhodes and sister-in-law Johanna Rhodes, niece Jean Rhodes, and nephew John Rhodes; parents-in-law Elke and Luz Harbusch, brother-in-law Frank Harbusch and his wife Miriam, nephew Florian Harbusch, and niece Ann-Kathrin Harbusch.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please consider donating to the Robert T. Rhodes Memorial Scholarship Fund at TCU, TCU Box 297044, Fort Worth, Texas 76129, or online via this link: https://advancement.tcu.edu/new/rhodes.