Both father and son have taught business at Texas Tech, but their relationship goes way beyond their profession.
Sharing the same name, profession and co-authorship has created a unique father-son relationship for Bill Pasewark Sr. and Bill Pasewark Jr.
"We've done so many things together,” Pasewark Jr. said. “We've got a great relationship.”
From teaching business at Texas Tech University to co-authoring about 20 books and manuals on computer business systems, the Pasewarks have a special bond, one forged after neither had long-term plans to come to – or stay in – Lubbock. It just worked out that way.
Now, the name Pasewark is synonymous with business education at Texas Tech. Pasewark Sr. taught business at Texas Tech from 1956 to 1982 when the college was located in the Administration Building. Pasewark Jr. has taught in the Rawls College of Business since 2000 and is the Webster Professor of Business and the associate dean of graduate programs and research.
“We have a lot in common to talk about,” said the 90-year-old Pasewark Sr. “Then, of course, the textbooks we wrote together, that was really a binding experience.”
Finding roots in Lubbock
Bill Pasewark Sr. was barely into his teaching career after earning his doctorate from New York University when the opportunity came to fill in for a Texas Tech professor who was spending a year in Turkey.
“My senior professor at NYU thought it would be a good move to get out of New York City and see what the rest of the world is like,” Pasewark Sr. said. “Also, my wife had a lot of boyfriends on campus. After we got married, I sure wasn't going to hang around campus with all those guys!”
The Pasewarks were married in March and moved to Lubbock in August. Oh, and by the way, they were expecting their first child, who they named Bill Jr. but only after Pasewark's students suggested some local town names for the child – Tahoka Pasewark or Idalou Pasewark for a girl, Muleshoe Pasewark for a boy – in order to “Texanize” their teacher.
Somewhere in those early stages of living in Lubbock, it became apparent they weren't going to leave anytime soon.
“We just looked at each other one day and agreed Lubbock would be a great place to raise children,” Pasewark Sr., said. “The friendliness of the people, the climate, the opportunity at Texas Tech – you could just sense that Texas Tech was going to grow.”
Six children later, the Pasewarks' roots in Lubbock became permanent. Four of their six children graduated from Texas Tech. Bill Pasewark Jr., however, went elsewhere.
After earning his doctorate from Texas A&M University, Pasewark Jr. taught at the University of Georgia and the University of Houston, never intending to come back to his hometown.
So what brought him back? In a way, his parents.
“Every time I came to visit my parents, I'd go over to Texas Tech and talk to the faculty I knew,” Pasewark Jr. said. “One day they asked me if I wanted to interview with Texas Tech for a job. I first came here as a visiting professor to see what it was like. We were here about two months and my wife, who didn't grow up in Lubbock, said, ‘If they offer you a job here you need to take it. We're having a good time here.'
“When we lived in Houston I would go to about half a soccer game and thought I was being a great dad. Here in Lubbock, I got to coach basketball and got to be a Boy Scout leader. It was an excellent experience for my sons, and so that was a big draw.”
A special relationship
Though the Pasewarks didn't teach business at Texas Tech at the same time, their common professional experience heightened their relationship as father and son.
But it started much sooner than that. When Pasewark Jr. was growing up, his parents would frequently entertain faculty and students at their house on 11th Street, and he had a front-row seat on how to build relationships. Pasewark Sr. credits his wife with being the foundation for the family.
“One of the things my father always did well was work with students one-on-one,” Pasewark Jr. said. “That translates even to having students over to our house. I remember as a child having foreign students over for Thanksgiving and I thought if I could teach, this is the way to do it. Establishing a good relationship with each student individually is something that he was very good at and I admired.”
Pasewark said his father also taught him how to be a good father, and that philosophy can be applied to the classroom: Be kind, but firm.
“Another principle I developed in later years that's the secret to being a good teacher,” Pasewark Sr. said, “is to love your subject, love your students and do your best to bring them together.”
Pasewark Sr., however, is quick to point out his son has far exceeded in his career what the elder Pasewark accomplished.
“I am proud of him for following in my footsteps,” Pasewark Sr. said. “Bill has such a natural talent for working with people. He's progressed much further than I did in almost every phase of education.”
Pasewark Jr. said he's been lucky to witness firsthand the growth of Texas Tech his father anticipated when he arrived in 1956.
It's all been enhanced by the special bond between father and son the Pasewarks have built.
“A lot of people move away from their parents and I lucked out in that I got to move back to where my parents are and spend time with them,” Pasewark Jr. said. “How many children can have their 90-year-old parents over for dinner on a frequent basis? It's a special experience for me and a privilege.
“With so many families that break up these days, having parents who stay together and parents who genuinely care for their children, especially when there's six of them, that's something that's really special. I'm proud of both of my parents and feel very lucky to be their son.”