Mays Business School Professor Keith Swim Retires After More Than Three Decades At Texas A&M
Since announcing his retirement to his former students on Facebook in May, Clinical Associate Professor Keith D. Swim, Jr. ’77, who taught classes on business law at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School for over 30 years, has been flooded with hundreds of messages from grateful former students.
“The only class I willingly sat front row in because you made the subject so interesting to learn more about!” wrote one.
Others reflected on Swim’s famous tough-but-fair approach: “I still tell people stories about how hard your tests were, but you made us earn it.”
“So grateful to be amongst the lucky thousands that had you as a professor,” another commented. “Enjoy retirement, you earned it!”
Swim joined the faculty in 1989, having dreamt of teaching at A&M for most of his adult life. Decades later, he said it’s still hard to believe that he got to live that dream for so many years: “It does still seem like a dream in a lot of ways.”
Over the years, Swim made a name for himself as a dedicated and caring educator who prioritized genuine intellectual growth over rote memorization.
As a longtime instructor of the Legal Environment of Business course for business majors and the Business, Government & Society course for non-majors, his task each semester was as challenging as it was important; it was up to Swim to take a group of students with little-to-no knowledge of legal concepts and give them the tools they would need to understand and navigate these issues in their future careers.
“Whether you’ve got a business minor or a major, you’re going to have to know some aspects of law and be able to understand it — not to be the attorney but to at least know what the attorney is talking about and how things work in the business world,” he said.
For Swim, that often meant teaching his students to think critically and understand that not every question has a black-and-white answer. As he freely admits, that can be a big challenge for many. But Swim has always taken the time to offer help to those who ask for it.
“For those who did come to my office hours and would work with me, to see them start off doing horrible and end up doing so much better, that was the most rewarding thing about the whole experience,” he said.
Swim is also widely known for his charitable work, including an annual Christmas toy drive for children in need, food drives for The 12th Can food pantry and card-writing campaigns for hospital patients across the country — all endeavors that Swim is reluctant to take credit for.
“The students did it,” he said. “I was just a facilitator. I didn’t do it. They did it.”
As he begins this next chapter of his life, Swim said he will be forever grateful to his wife, Brenda — “I couldn’t have done all of it without her,” he said — as well as the many Aggies that made his time on campus worthwhile. He said it warms his heart to see how many have taken a moment to wish him well.
“It makes me feel extremely blessed to have had a chance to have so many wonderful students over the past 33 years,” he said. “And I am sure that is what I will miss most in retirement, not getting to interact with students.”