Segarra retires from Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
After many years spent in the classroom teaching economics to college students, Eduardo Segarra, Ph.D., has decided to close the textbooks and open a new chapter with his grandchildren. As of December 2020, he officially retired with the honor of emeritus status.
In the past 33 years at Texas Tech University, Segarra has raised more than $17 million in research and endowment funds for the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, accumulated a 40% increase in undergraduate enrollment, helped create the AAEC graduate program, received countless honors and awards, and published several pieces of writing.
Segarra’s entire career was dedicated to the university, the department, the faculty, and the students. His determination to make a lasting impact was the driving force in leaving his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, and ultimately planting his roots in Lubbock, Texas. From the first moment he chose Texas Tech, he said his intentions were never to prosper himself, but to create prosperity in his environment and the lives of those around him.
“I wanted to essentially create knowledge, discover things, come up with new things, and then have an impact on people,” Segarra said. “My goal has always been to enhance humans…to encourage them to take ownership of their skills.”
I wanted to essentially create knowledge, discover things, come up with new things, and then have an impact on people.
Segarra has never let anything get in the way of chasing his dreams. He left his family’s construction business after receiving a bachelor’s in economics at the University of Monterrey in Mexico. He then learned English in four months so he could move to the United States and pursue a master’s degree in agricultural economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He later obtained his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Segarra carried his drive and ambition led to an assistant professor position at Texas Tech after receiving his Ph.D. A few years later, he was promoted to professor for the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
“I’ve had as much fun as I could ever have being a professor at Texas Tech,” he said. “I think overall I did contribute, and I feel good about what I contributed.”
Segarra said he took it upon himself to capitalize on the department’s strengths and then built upon the foundation that was set before him. His passion for the successes of others helped him form relationships with his students, which set him apart from the average professor. Segarra said he maintains contact with many of his former students and their families.
“I am good friends with not only my former students, but also their parents,” Segarra said. “For many years, I have visited them, and they have visited me, and now I have their kids as my advisees here at Texas Tech.”
In his office, Segarra keeps a jar full of pennies. He said anytime he feels his students are stressed or a major event takes place, he brings the penny jar to his lecture. He tells his students the pennies represent all the obligations in life, whether it be personal, family, or school related, and then pours his morning coffee in the jar to fill the gaps between the coins.
“See, I don’t care how full your life is, you always have time to have a cup of coffee,” Segarra said. “Take it easy, sit back and relax, regardless of what’s going on.”
Segarra has not only made an impact on the lives of his students, but also his fellow faculty members. Conrad Lyford, Ph.D., a professor in the AAEC department, considers Segarra a close friend and mentor for the past 20 years. Lyford described his colleague as a professor who genuinely valued the time spent with his students.
“Dr. Segarra got to know students in the department and would follow them in their successes afterward,” Lyford said. “He always brought a very consistent and innovative approach to each student.”
Heading into retirement, Segarra has left his mark on the AAEC department and Texas Tech throughout his career.
“Dr. Segarra has a lot to offer in life and in retirement,” Lyford said. “So, wherever he’s working or whatever he is doing, I know he’ll be making a difference.”
Segarra will continue to have his office located in the AAEC building where he will be able to make contributions to the university, but have the freedom to operate on his own schedule. He said it will be an adjustment, but he is excited for the future and getting to spend time with his family.
Though he will be hanging his suit in exchange for his role as grandpa, Segarra said he will always be a Red Raider at heart and the memories and friendships he’s made over the years will never be forgotten.
“I cannot emphasize enough that I did have a great ride at Tech,” he said. “It was so good. I truly have been blessed with the students and people in all of my years here.”