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Faculty Focus

Dr. Tom Bankston – Accounting, Economics and Finance

February 11, 2009

In his 35 years at ASU, Dr. Tom Bankston has gone from not necessarily wanting to be a professor to garnering awards for his teaching and dedication to students.

A San Angelo native, Bankston started his working life as an economist for Phillips Petroleum.  But, after earning his Ph.D. in 1974, he faced a career crossroad and decided to turn down the path that led to teaching.

“There were more jobs available teaching than there were industry jobs for a Ph.D. in business and economics with a major in finance,” Bankston said.  “I started looking for a job and there was an opening at Angelo State for a finance professor and I thought it would be fun to go home for a few years.  So, I’ve been here for the rest of my life.”

Currently a professor of finance and head of the Accounting, Economics and Finance Department, Bankston also served as interim dean of the College of Business in 2006-07.  In 2008 he was honored with the ASU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award.

“Flabbergasted, stunned, amazed, I was all of those,” Bankston said.  “It is quite nice and very gratifying.”

But, perhaps even more gratifying to Bankston are the 10 student study abroad trips he has lead to Europe and Russia dating back to 1982.  His first trip was a bus tour that included Amsterdam, Brussels, Hamburg, London and Paris.  Since then he has taken ASU students to Germany eight times and guided his first trip to Russia in 2008.

“I get to know students really well in a month-long, every-day setting,” Bankston said.  “And the real reward, although a bit cheesy sounding, is getting to see them blossom in such a short time.  It’s like a movie of a flower opening that is shown in a time lapse mode.”

“Also, it may sound far-fetched, but I think it helps the world overall when little by little we get to see more of each other,” he added.  “You find out that you are not so different and knock down some stereotypes.”

Outside of his campus life, Bankston is president of the board of directors of the San Angelo Day Nursery and has been a board member for 14 years.

“The nursery provides day care at about half the proprietary rate to make it possible for working parents, or those going to high school or college, to have a safe, loving environment for their children,” Bankston said.  “It is fun and heart-warming to visit the nursery and realize that because of the efforts of the community, these less-advantaged children will enter public school kindergarten with a level of academic skills comparable to any children in town.  We are helping children get a fair shake in life and I’m proud to be a small part of it.”

Bankston is also a board member of the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center and faculty adviser to the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity.  He earned his B.B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Texas and got his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.  He has two daughters, Brittany and Celia.

The change from business to academe, according to Bankston in reviewing his career, is like going to the fountain of youth every day.

“You spend your life with young people, which gives you a false sense of how young you are” he said.  “The faces never change, they are always about 20 years old.  So, you are always in this young world.”

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