Robert Rhodes, a law professor at Texas Christian University's Neeley School of Business for more than 30 years, died Thursday of complications related to COVID-19, the university said.
Rhodes, 65, was a professor of professional practice at the university, where he was hired as an adjunct faculty member in 1982. He went on to become a full-time lecturer two years later, according to his CV.
"Texas Christian University is deeply saddened to confirm the death of beloved faculty member Robert Rhodes, J.D., due to complications related to COVID-19," said the university in a statement. "The university's thoughts and prayers are with the faculty member's family and loved ones."
Originally from Kentucky, Rhodes received his Master of Law in international trade and finance from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he graduated among the top three students, and his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Baylor University in 1980.
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Rhodes impacted the lives of many and tributes have poured in from former students, faculty and staff.
Neeley graduate Anthony Micheli described Rhodes in a written memorial shared with NBC5 as not only his favorite professor, but a "dear friend, and a mentor and a confidant."
"I developed my senior honors thesis in collaboration with Rob," Micheli said. "Since graduation, I haven't set foot on campus without picking up the phone to call him. To put it bluntly, Robert Rhodes was the greatest gift the Neeley School – and TCU – ever received."
Micheli remembered Rhodes as someone who taught generations of students how to think critically and "did so with unwavering passion."
"He somehow managed to continually meet his life goal: Every lecture he gave was the best he had ever given," Micheli wrote. "Anyone can learn from him the value of striving towards perfection of one's craft."
Rhodes' dedication throughout his decades at the university also won him numerous awards and recognition.
He was named Neeley Distinguished Teacher in 2018 and Honors Professor of the Year in 2020, as well as one of the Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professors by Poets & Quants. He was also a seven-time winner of best MBA Professor, according to the university.
"We are devastated to lose a member of our Texas Christian University family. Dr. Rhodes had a heart for students, as evidenced by the numerous teaching nominations and awards he received," said TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini in a written statement. "His academic contributions and impact on students, colleagues and TCU will never be forgotten."
The university said it will be providing details about memorial opportunities to honor Rhodes' "life and legacy."