Award-winning Baylor prof’s path takes him from opera to IT
The Baylor faculty is full of professors who are leaders in their field and outstanding in the classroom, so it was noteworthy (but not unexpected) to hear earlier this month that a Baylor business professor, Dr. John Tripp, had been recognized as a rising star in the world of information systems.
What was unexpected, however, is how Tripp got to this point.
The Baylor MIS teacher is in just his fifth year as a college professor, so his honor — the Early Career Award, given by the Association for Information Systems (AIS) — makes sense. But even a quick look at his educational experience and work background reveals that Tripp’s journey was not a conventional one. After all, how many business professors can also sing a Tchaikovsky aria?
Yes, before becoming an IT professional, Tripp was a professional opera singer, having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Rice University, respectively. (Listening to his music online, you can hear the opera influence all these years later.)
But along the way, he began to gravitate from opera to business. His path included a stop at IBM as an IT specialist, followed by an MBA and PhD (in information technology management) from Michigan State. (Even so, during much of this time he kept a foot in the musical world as a worship leader at his local church.)
With his doctorate in hand, Tripp came to Baylor in 2012 — already in his 40s — for his first full-time faculty position as an assistant professor in the information systems department of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. Here, he quickly established a reputation for both research and teaching. His research has taken him from Asia to the Netherlands, examining how social networking applications impact people’s lives both individually and collectively — the kind of work that led to the AIS honor.
(And if moving from the world of opera to IT wasn’t interesting enough, there’s one other fact about Tripp you might find unexpected: He and his wife, Molly Ann, are the parents of eight children, ranging in age from 20 to one. Tripp says he hopes to watch them all come to Baylor someday — the first already has — and if they all indeed choose Baylor, check back in 17 years or so; eight Baylor siblings is probably worthy of a Baylor Proud post on its own merit!)
Sic ’em, Dr. Tripp!