A&M-Commerce Professor Joins Purdue Faculty After 28 Years as a Lion

Dr. Elva A. Resendez, faculty member in the Department of Management and Economics at A&M-Commerce, has accepted a position at Purdue University Fort Wayne (IN). She will assume her new role on August 17.

“There's no question about Elva's contributions to our department,” said Dr. Alex Williams, interim head of the Department of Management and Marketing at A&M-Commerce. “She will definitely be missed professionally and personally. Purdue University is gaining a great person, not just a great employee.”

After 28 years as a student, employee and instructor at A&M-Commerce, Resendez's life will forever be intertwined with the college that Mayo built. She said it was fate that led her to Commerce in 1992.

Resendez graduated fourth in her high school class in Orange Grove, Texas, earning a scholarship to Rice University which included tuition, books and housing. As the first in her family to attend college, she wasn't aware of the importance of the respond-by date in the acceptance letter. When she turned in her paperwork several days past the deadline, she learned that her scholarship had been awarded to someone else. Without the scholarship she was unable to afford Rice.

Fortunately, her fourth-grade teacher and family friend, Paul B. Box, assured her family that she would get a good education at his alma mater, East Texas State University (now A&M-Commerce). Resendez applied and was accepted.

“And honestly, that was probably one of the best moves I'd ever made,” said Resendez. “I wanted to experience a different culture, a different area. And I ended up here!”

She thought she wanted to be a news correspondent like her idol Arthur Kent, nicknamed the Scud Stud for his coverage of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It didn't take her long to discover the life of a jet-setting journalist wasn't for her. “I just couldn't see myself running away, everywhere, in pursuit of a story,” she said. “But I didn't learn that until I came here.”

Ultimately, Resendez combined her passion for helping people and her affinity for language by earning her bachelor's degree, with honors, in human resource management—along with two additional, cross-college majors in English and Spanish, which was unheard of at the time. “You're a maverick, aren't you?” she recalls her advisor, Dr. Robert M. Noe, asking her at the time. He still calls her Maverick to this day. Over the years, Resendez has also learned bits of Arabic, German and other languages.

“I've always stuck with what I really enjoy and what I am passionate about,” said Resendez. “We tend to feel comfortable with people who speak our language,” she continued. “I hope to inspire others who have an interest in foreign languages to communicate with more people.”

Resendez said fate also intervened on her first day at ETSU, when she met her future husband, Danny House, after asking him to hold her salsa at a freshman event at Whitley Hall. “We were both shy,” she said. “We talked for hours but never knew each other's name.”

They met again the next day at a hot dog event. “This time we learned each other's name,” said Resendez. “Ironically, we met again in Dr. McCarron's honors English class; we've been together ever since.”

The couple both received their bachelor's and master's degrees from A&M-Commerce. Resendez was the first student to graduate with honors from A&M-Commerce after the university joined The Texas A&M University System in 1996.

“We both owe a lot to this wonderful university and the extremely supportive people who historically work for this institution,” said Resendez. “I'm proud to be associated with Mayo's college.”

Having worked for the university since 1992 as a student, Resendez transitioned to a full-time role as an advisor in the financial aid office from 1997-2007. She considers it one of her all-time favorite jobs at the university. She began teaching as an adjunct instructor of international business in 2000, and in 2012 she became a full-time professor in the Department of Management and Economics.

“Elva has worked in many capacities for the university, and her curiosity, perseverance and dedication ultimately led her to earn a doctorate in business,” said Dr. Mario Hayek, dean of the College of Business. Resendez earned her doctorate in human resource development with an emphasis in organizational change from The University of Texas at Tyler in 2018.

Resendez said there's something special about A&M-Commerce that has kept her in the Lion pride so long. Although the identity of the university has evolved over the years, the focus has always been on the student. “That's one mission that has never changed,” she said. “All of us; the people who come here and the people we hire to this day … we always work for the student.”

Nonetheless, Resendez is excited to join the Department of Management and Marketing at Purdue's Doermer School of Business, “… with a healthy tinge of apprehension for any new adventure,” she said. She will teach conflict management, management and behavior in organizations, and business communication. She looks forward to contributing to the university and utilizing her language skills to connect with students and colleagues.

“I'm honored to join the Boilermaker system and the Mastodon family,” said Resendez.