Faculty

Irma Pirtle

Irma PirtleIRMA PIRTLE, 78, who was a research assistant professor for the biology department at UNT, died May 3 in Huntsville, Alabama. She received her chemistry degree from the University of Alabama and her Ph.D. in analytic chemistry from the University of Louisville. Before moving to Denton with her husband, Robert Pirtle, she worked in New York after having received a National Institutes of Health Fellowship from Brookhaven National Laboratories. At UNT, Irma and Robert operated a “Ma and Pa” research lab for 32 years, received many research grants, published several scientific articles and presented at numerous conferences in countries such as Sweden, Germany and England. They also donated to UNT Libraries.

William Morris Jr.

William MorrisWILLIAM MORRIS JR., 90, Professor Emeritus of business administration who served as an accounting professor at UNT for 30 years, died May 24 in Denton. He worked at UNT from 1971 to 2001 and was a longtime donor to the Department of Accounting. A former Eagle Scout, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Hardin Simmons University, served in the U.S. Army for two years and then earned his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Bill worked in Dallas for 10 years as a public accountant, then earned his doctorate at Michigan State University. He then moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and began his work at UNT. Some of his early research included the use of statistical sampling in historical studies of auditing.

Marc Cutright

Marc CutrightMARC CUTRIGHT, 67, Professor Emeritus of education who worked at UNT from 2007 to 2017 and served as director of the Higher Education Development Initiative, died May 28 in Kampala, Uganda. He worked in public relations, politics and higher education, with his academic studies focusing on the advancement of higher education in east Africa. He also directed the annual Texas Higher Education Law Conference. Marc earned a bachelor’s degree from Lindenwood College, a master’s degree from North Georgia College and State University and a doctorate from the University of Tennessee. He was also a Fulbright scholar to Canada and Uganda. He was one of UNT’s first faculty members to live in a residence hall as part of the faculty-in-residence program. Marc was active in his church and was a huge advocate for human rights.

Edith Lindley

EDITH LINDLEY (’42), 98, of Denton, who taught home economics at North Texas for more than 30 years, died Jan. 25. After graduation, she taught home economics at Hobbs and Sanger ISDs. In 1949, she began teaching at North Texas and returned in 1963 after a stint working at Texas A&M University. She retired in 1982. Edith was an active volunteer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital for 25 years, an avid seamstress, cook and world traveler, climbing the Great Wall of China at 85. She and her friends never missed a UNT football or basketball game as long as they could make it. Survivors include her daughters, Denise Harpool, a senior buyer in procurement services for the UNT System, and Diane Lindley Weaver ('76).

Edith Lindley

James Andrew Roberts

James Andrew 'Jim' Roberts, 87, of Sanger, who taught physics at UNT for more than 50 years, died on Nov. 7.

As a professor of physics, he was still serving on the faculty at UNT and said he continued to teach into his 80s because he enjoyed working with students. He was an advocate for helping public school teachers receive the training and tools they needed to better teach science and mathematics, and he founded and served for more than 30 years as project director for UNT’s Collaborative Group for the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science Teaching.

His research specialties included the interaction of microwaves with matter, molecular and atomic spectroscopy, plasma physics, and astronomy, and his research funding included grants from the Robert A. Welch Foundation. He published more than 125 papers, collaborated with researchers in several other countries, received many teaching honors and mentored many students over the years.

He also served as an elder for the Sanger Church of Christ for more than 30 years.

Prior to joining North Texas in 1967, he served in the Air Force for four years, then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Louisiana Tech University and a doctorate in engineering physics from the University of Oklahoma.

James Roberts

Janet Koch Ellis

Janet Koch Ellis (’74 M.A., ’81 Ph.D.), 89, of Denton, Professor Emerita of behavior analysis, a program she was instrumental in developing at UNT, died Oct. 28. In her 30 years at UNT, she worked closely with many students in her lab, and her published lab work results led to some of the first reports on functional analysis in public schools in the world. She was a founding member and the second president of the Texas Association of Behavior Analysis.

She and her husband, Edward Ellis, were lifetime members of the UNT Alumni Association and supported the athletics department and College of Health and Public Service. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her master’s degree from Southern Methodist University.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. on Dec. 14 at her home. For details, email CelebrateJanet@googlegroups.com. Memorials may be made to The Ruth and Joe Koch Behavior Analysis Research Endowment at UNT.

Horace Brock

Horace Brock, 92, Professor Emeritus of accounting and one of the driving forces in building the national reputation of UNT’s accounting program, died Oct. 26 in Denton.

He was known globally as the premier expert in oil and gas accounting, and he wrote numerous oil and gas accounting textbooks that were considered the best in the field.

He taught at UNT from 1954 to 1991, serving as chair of the accounting department and acting dean of the College of Business during that time. He founded the university’s Institute for Petroleum Accounting and helped establish the Chief Executives Roundtable (CERT).

“I was fortunate to have Horace Brock as a professor at UNT and to work with him as an expert post graduation,” says Brint Ryan (’88, ’88 M.S.), CEO of Dallas-based Ryan, a tax services firm. “He was truly a giant in his field and one of the most distinguished professors at UNT.”

Brock’s reputation in the accounting field was felt around the world. In the 1970s, he served as chair of the Financial Accounting Standards Board Task Force, which created accounting standards for the petroleum industry that are still used today, and on the accounting standards advisory committee for the Federal Energy Commission. He also served on the Securities and Exchange Commission and established business curriculum as a consultant for the Turkish Education Ministry in Istanbul.

Brock and his wife, the late Euline Brock (’74 Ph.D.) — who taught at North Texas and served as the mayor of Denton — were strong supporters of the university. They met in 1954 when he taught accounting and she taught English, and their dates often included concerts on campus — a tradition they continued for more than 50 years. They married in 1955 and had three children.

The Brocks were life members of the Alumni Association and members of the McConnell Society. Horace received the Honorary Alumni Award in 1993, the UNT President’s Award for outstanding service in 1984 and the UNT Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award in 1975. He also belonged to three organizations supporting the UNT College of Music — the Dean’s Camerata, the College of Music Advisory Board and the Community Support Council.

The Brocks contributed to the College of Music, the College of Business, athletics, the libraries and the Emerald Eagle Scholars program. Their scholarships include the Euline and Horace Brock Merit Scholarship, which supports music students; the Brock Endowment for Strings, a full-ride scholarship given to an outstanding string player each year; and the Euline W. Brock Centennial Presidential Scholarship, which recruits top academically performing students coming to the university.

The Euline and Horace Brock Grand Lobby in the Murchison Performing Arts Center is named in their honor for their contributions. In recognition of decades of outstanding support for UNT and its students, the Brocks received the Wings of Eagles Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

They were both active in the Denton community, and received the Denton Rotary Club's 2010 Community Service Award.

Horace received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Sam Houston State University and his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. He also served in the U.S. Air Force.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 2 at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 300 W. Oak Street in Denton. The family encourages people attending between Homecoming activities to wear “Mean Green” apparel.

Horace Brock

Maliyakal ‘Jay’ Jayakumar

Maliyakal ‘Jay’ Jayakumar, 62, of Denton, associate professor of information technology and decision sciences, died Sept. 11 in Kochi, India. He began working at UNT in 1994. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, his master’s from the University of California and his doctorate from Pennsylvania State University. At UNT, he taught business statistical analysis and management science courses and was a member of the Decision Sciences Institute and the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science. He is survived by his wife, Maya Jayakumar (’95, ’03 M.S.).

Maliyakal Jayakumar

James W. ‘Bill’ Giese

James W. ‘Bill’ Giese, 94, Professor Emeritus of accounting, died Sept. 5 in Denton. He taught at UNT from 1966 to 1985 after working at the University of Texas and Idaho State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Illinois. He became a certified public accountant in Idaho in 1949 and in Texas in 1962. He worked in public accounting from 1947 to 1957. After retiring from UNT in 1985, he was active in the Denton community as a member of many city, school and organization boards and committees. He was so involved in the Denton ISD, including serving on the school board for three years, that the DISD Giese Professional Support Services Building was named for him in 2018. He also was a member of the UNT President’s Council. Donations may be made to the J.W. Giese Accounting Scholarship Fund.

James W. ‘Bill’ Giese

Clay Douglas Rivenbark Jr.

Clay Douglas Rivenbark Jr., 62, of Dallas, an adjunct professor in the Mayborn School of Journalism, died Sept. 5. He taught applied design at UNT. He had a 35-year career in graphic design that included working as an owner and creative director of M2 Design; teaching at the Rocky College of Art and Design in Denver; and serving as School of Design coordinator for the Art Institute of Dallas. He worked with many professional organizations such as the Dallas Society of Visual Communications, the Society of Typographic Arts and the Industrial Design Society of America. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology and his master’s from Texas A&M University. He enjoyed participating in chili cookoffs and traveling, and he married his high school sweetheart in the middle of his life.

Clay Douglas Rivenbark Jr.

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