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Professor Tom Bates is Inducted into First TCU Legends in Energy Class of Honorees

Bates advocated for the creation of the Energy MBA and has served as a faculty member, mentor, a Ralph Lowe Energy Institute board advisor and much more to further the institute’s prominence on a national scale.

July 24, 2023

By Jennifer Floyd Engel

Professor Tom Bates, Sr. is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan and when TCU played Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl, amid his blue and maize, he also wore a “TCU Energy” baseball cap.

The man loves Michigan, and swam collegiately for the Wolverines, but he has invested his time and vast energy industry experience into the TCU Ralph Lowe Energy Institute. He was integral in establishing an Energy MBA at the TCU Neeley School of Business 10 years ago, has served as an adjunct professor of energy business and mentor to countless MBA candidates in the years that followed, and he is a huge reason why the institute has grown in prominence nationally.

In honor of all of his contributions, Bates was inducted into the inaugural TCU Legends in Energy class in April along with Barry Davis, Trevor Rees-Jones, Mary Ralph Lowe, Wil VanLoh and Chancellor Victor J. Boschini.

Tom Bates with former students and TCU Faculty and Administration

“I love being a part of this program, supporting what Dr. B is building here,” Bates said in reference to the institute’s executive director, Ann Bluntzer. “It’s the students that keep me coming back.”

The appreciation is mutual, as evidenced by the turnout for him at April’s Legends in Energy dinner. The stage was packed with TCU Energy MBAs, past and present, who had flown in from all over the country to honor him.

“I want to get this right because I am speaking for more than myself now. I am speaking for 10 years of Energy MBA students whose lives have been impacted through your mentorship and pep talks, your real-world examples in every class, your willingness to share your time and talent and connections,” said Chris Perry, an Energy MBA alumnus, while introducing Bates.

“When you pushed for Neeley to create an Energy MBA 10 years ago I’m not sure even you could have imagined the impact it would have on the industry, on TCU and on us. You truly are legendary,” Perry said.

The students then presented  Bates with a tool box, a $5 million ceremonial check and a bottle of TX Whiskey, references to lessons he teaches in his classes. Bates gifts every graduate a bottle of TX Whiskey inscribed with “five years or five million,” his rallying cry for them to open the bottle after making their first $5 million.