Long-time College of Business professors retire on same day

Longtime ECU professors Dr. Roy Simerly, left, and Dr. Kenneth Bass retired on Sept. 1. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Longtime ECU professors Dr. Roy Simerly, left, and Dr. Kenneth Bass retired on Sept. 1. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

By Jennifer Brezina
ECU College of Business

Two management professors in the College of Business retired on the exact same day this fall, ending more than four decades of combined teaching at East Carolina University.

The 2012-2013 academic year was Kenneth Bass’ 21st year in the Department of Management and Roy Simerly’s 23rd year. The last day for both men was Sept. 1.

Bass joined ECU in 1991, first teaching management principles and organizational behavior. After the first few years, he began teaching strategic management, one of the final courses taken by business students at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

“When I started teaching, technology consisted of chalk and overhead transparencies,” Bass said. “The most rewarding part of my career has been getting to know students, counseling them throughout their college careers, watching them develop in their knowledge of business, and then seeing them graduate and move into successful careers in business.”

Bass earned his MBA from Louisiana State University in Shreveport in 1983 and earned his PhD in Business Administration from Louisiana Tech University in 1991. Three of Bass’ four children graduated from the ECU College of Business: Kevin Bass (DSCI ’99), Kristopher Bass (DSCI ’06), and Karen Bass Winbourne (DSCI ’05).

Simerly, whose office was adjacent to Bass’, said he has taught almost every class offered by the Department of Management at some point, although his primary area is graduate-level strategic management.

“Throughout my years of teaching, the students have been the greatest challenge and reward as they kept me on my toes and made me learn and grow,” Simerly said. “I have been consistently recognized by graduate students for my teaching ability, but I don’t know why, as I tell them at the start that I am not a teacher.

“Students are responsible for their education and should be aware of this. Professors are responsible for the creation of new knowledge, and are in the classroom only to facilitate the student’s search for understanding.”

Before his career in the academic world, Simerly served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force. In the military, he held various positions in management and also gained experience as an electronic technician, ultimately working as resource manager of an England-based aircraft maintenance logistics support team.  During this time he also earned a BSBA from the University of Maryland and a master of science in management from Troy State University’s European Division.

He earned his PhD in management from Virginia Tech in 1990.