ACU’s College of Business lost a professor, mentor, colleague and friend on Friday, October 12, 2012 when Dr. Darryl Jinkerson, associate professor of management, died suddenly at the age of 54.
A Harding graduate, Darryl joined the ACU faculty in 2002 after being pursued by COBA. Dr. Monty Lynn wrote, “I admired Darryl from a distance during our undergraduate years at Harding University and particularly I was impressed by his effortless mastering of quantitative skills and research methods. I followed Darryl’s stellar career path from a distance – through graduate school at Southern Illinois to Arthur Andersen and through a tour of managing private businesses. Around 2000, we encouraged Darryl to apply for an ACU faculty opening in management, but we were unsuccessful in attracting him and understandably so: Darryl had deep roots in Chicago. He was a director at a highly reputable international accounting firm, had recently served as Vice President of a family business, was actively engaged in a vibrant church, was a generous servant in an Illinois summer youth camp, traveled extensively around the globe for work, was an active and devoted father and husband, and somehow found time to teach courses part-time at two Chicago-area Christian colleges. It was this last point – despite his busy schedule, he chose to share with others in Christian higher education – that convinced us we might have a chance. We approached him a couple of years later when his employer, Arthur Andersen, was crumbling due to indiscretions of a few employees in the Houston office. It was still a long-shot to attract Darryl. He had hundreds of contacts and opportunities thanks to his effective efforts with global clients. But Darryl accepted our offer. Needless to say, we were overjoyed. Darryl brought to ACU evaluation experience and knowledge of the world’s leading accounting firm and for a decade, shared that expertise with ACU students and colleagues. He continued to love his family, was a great friend to colleagues, and was an elder in his church. He consulted widely with Fortune 500 clients in Chicago and New York, and with local firms in Abilene. What a blessing this friend and gifted colleague was to many. We are forever changed by his dynamic leadership and service in the College of Business Administration at ACU.”
During his first year of teaching, Darryl was honored as the Teacher of the Year in the Department of Management Sciences, later serving four years as department chair. He enjoyed the classroom and the daily interaction with students, helping them make real life connections to the business world. Current and former students left words of condolence on COBA’s Facebook page, giving this testimony, “Dr. Jinkerson was not only a teacher, but was also a friend. He cared about his students and got to know each and every one of them.” Another wrote, “Heartbreaking. I will never forget the first day of class, him saying ‘If my phone rings it means it is my family, I will take the call, they are that important to me.’ What a great example of a kind heart.”
Not only was Darryl a teacher and mentor to his students, but to his colleagues as well. Dr. Andy Little wrote, “From the vantage point of a young faculty member, Darryl was exceptionally generous with his time. There were countless occasions when I would walk next door into his office, plop down in his chair, and ask his advice on some practical question. How should I take attendance effectively? What makes a good test question? What do I do if 75% of the class fails the test? He was always glad to help. He never seemed too busy for my silly questions; he never asked me to come back later or ask someone else; he always wanted to empower me to be a better professor. He was kind and thoughtful, helpful and genuine. We miss him.”
If you saw Darryl somewhere, you most likely saw Dr. Phil Vardiman as well. This dynamic duo worked together to accomplish much, whether it was mentoring students through SIFE, reaching out through study abroad, or perfecting their game on the golf course. The friendship that Phil and Darryl shared was special. Phil said, “I can’t begin to tell you all the things we did together and how much he meant to me. He made me a better person just to know him. When I think of Darryl, he was more than a friend. He was my brother and I will never forget him. He loved his family and he loved working at COBA. He was a great teacher and mentor to so many students. We will never be able to replace the effort and dedication he gave to everything he did.”
Darryl had a passion for engaging students globally through study abroad programs. He was named the Director of Global Initiatives this past summer and was actively engaged in the process of refining existing programs and creating new opportunities. Darryl had taken many groups of students for study abroad trips to Honduras, China, Oxford, and most recently to Australia. He and Dr. Ian Shepherd were planning a trip to Australia during this Christmas break to work with Aboriginal tribes in addition to touring international businesses. Darryl had a passion for helping those in need. He had gone to Honduras several times with Mission Lazarus, SIFE, and Torch Missions. In 2007, he and his daughters traveled to Honduras together, building a house there in memory of his father, who died in 2007.
Darryl would have been the first person to tell you that all of his professional and philanthropic contributions paled in comparison to his family. When asked about what stood out to her, Karen Viertel said, “He was a great dad to his girls. He loved them so much and talked A LOT about little London, his precious granddaughter. He was proud of the women they have become and the great men they married. Good job, Darryl, showing them what a girl needs to look for in a husband, father, and spiritual leader.” Dr. Orneita Burton shared the same sentiment. She said, “My first words to describe Darryl when I met him were, ‘This is certainly what God intended when He gave girls fathers!’ We have lost a fine example of the embodiment of fatherhood as a reflection of our loving Father in Heaven.”
Countless friends, students, and colleagues have observed many, many times over the years – especially during the last year – his devotion to his family. Whenever Darryl spoke about his wife, Cindy, or his girls, Whitney, Rachel, and Amanda, he would always talk about them with a smile on his lips, a heart full of pride, and love that was both fierce and tender. The role he relished the most was that of husband and father and we were all able to witness his love and devotion firsthand. It has made us better parents and spouses. Thank you, Darryl, for your example.
At times like this, it is easy to question why Darryl left us so soon. Frankly, there isn’t an answer for that. However, Darryl would be encouraging us to keep at the work of educating and mentoring students, encouraging our colleagues, and making our families our first priority, so we will follow your example and work each day at making the world a better place for someone else. Darryl, we will miss you. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
Visitation is Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 6-8 p.m. at Piersall-Benton Funeral Directors (733 Butternut, Abilene, Texas 79602), with a memorial service at 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18, at Abilene’s University Church of Christ. The service will be streamed live at http://uccabilene.org/ucc-live/.