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I was recently mesmerized while watching MC Hammer dance. What if all of us lived the way he moved? At full force, and with breakneck speed?

A faculty mentor explaind that when doing something, “Do it to the max.” My dissertation chairperson, Jack Ivancevich, was a perfect example of her exhortation. He epitomized what it meant to be both a scholar and an elder statesman – a professor who loved learning, teaching, writing, and most of all, helping other people. He agreed to serve as my chair even though he was publishing textbooks, working on articles, and already serving as chair of someone else’s dissertation. Did I mention he was Dean of the U.H. College of Business at the time? And yet, he always found time for me (even thirteen years after graduation) to offer advice, encouragement, support, mentorship, and plenty of wisdom. He always told me “Full steam ahead,” a phrase that will stick with me for life.

I was truly privileged to have worked with someone of his stature. He was ranked #1 in the Academy of Management’s gold circle, and was the author of over 80 books and 160 articles. His impact on academia was profound and far reaching, and is still being felt today. Even post humus he is co-author on an article entitled “Cooperative vs. toxic Workplace Behaviors: The role of organizational culture and leadership in creating community centered organizations,” which will appear in the forthcoming issue of International Journal of Leadership Studies.

His dedication, commitment, and professional advice were unmatched, and his humility (for someone so accomplished) was rare. He once told me, “If you have to tell people how good you are, you’re not very good.” Now I always smile when I hear or read about someone tooting their own horn.

This giant of a man (in terms of academic stature) was gracious enough to let me stand in his shadow for sixteen years. I am forever changed.

We miss you Jack. In the words of MC Hammer, “You Can’t Touch This.”

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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