Teaching was always the passion of beloved business professor J B Searles. His concern for all of his students gave him a connection to every one whose life he touched. In the summer of 2010, his family ensured that his legacy would live on in the W. Fielding Rubel School of Business: They established a scholarship in his name for an undergraduate student majoring in one of the Rubel School disciplines.
J B began his academic career as a teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin while working on his MBA. He then became an associate professor in the College of Business Administration at the University of Notre Dame and is noted in O’Hara’s Heirs: Business Education at Notre Dame for his innovative teaching methods. Simply put, he loved teaching, he loved helping others learn and he loved his family and wife of 66 years, Pat.
But J B was also a responsible father who worried how he would support his family on a professor’s income, so he entered the private sector. When he returned to teaching after a 24-year career with the General Electric Co.’s Major Appliance Division, his students were the beneficiaries of his combined love of helping others and his practical experiences. As a director of Sales and Marketing Executives (SME), J B received the President’s Award and the Roger P. Madison Man of the Year Award, and he opened Bellarmine students’ eyes to real-world approaches to marketing.
J B founded the Bellarmine Marketing Club in his first year on campus and served as advisor. The club quickly grew and launched a Merchants for Bellarmine Campaign that connected more than 100 businesses to Bellarmine. J B was also very involved in the Small Business Development Center. “J B was a treasure,” said former student Joe Sadleter. “He demanded attention to detail and he likewise recognized those who gave it the same attention. He helped shape us young men and women into future business leaders.”
J B also stressed education within his family. All five of his children earned college degrees and excelled professionally. To his five children – Patricia Searles Vairin, Michael R. Searles, J. Brian Searles, Mary A. Searles and Theresa J. Searles – his foundation is ever-lasting. Mary noted: “He flew. He soared. He achieved. He overachieved. He gave us our wings so we could fly, and we did. And we do. He was our foundation, our rock, our mentor and role model. A man of character, purpose and high standards.”
The Searles family feels passionately that everyone deserves a good education. In honor of the strong foundation established by their father, Bellarmine University is pleased to recognize the creation of the J B Searles Endowed Scholarship.