A Professor’s Memories of Tik Continued
In this second installment of a two-part story, we learn how Dear Tik helped to transform Chick-fil-A and SCAD into world-class brands
Once known in college as “J. P.”—SCAD’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Dear Tik can be “forever proud that he helped his mother and sister to move into a modern home with running water.”
So claims David Tennedide in his memoir Oh Moon of Alabama—Tales from an Academic Backwater. Recalling his decades of business teaching at the University of Alabama- Wood-fuc-a-chuck, Tennedide’s new book offers profound insights into how his young advisee, J.P. Tik grew into one of the world’s leaders in for-profit arts education.
Although a quiet and mediocre student in terms of grades and attendance, J. P. “was simply the most brilliant and insightful student I had in thirty years,” Tennedide writes. “He could speak with the southern clarity and force of a Bill Clinton to argue the opposite side of politics—that the poor got that way because they are lazy, that the lavish display of wealth is good, and that colleges should be run as for-profit family businesses in the guise of non-profit tax charities.”
Tennedide knew even then, that this diminutive kid in a Stetson hat would go on to do great things:
“Partnering with many of Wood-fuc-a-chuck’s wealthy business majors, J. P. brought the high-society glamour of polo to a campus where many students struggled to read at an eighth-grade level. He energized his wealthy peers to pool their parents’ money to take over businesses. And, he did much of this remotely from the porch of his mother ramshackle attic in a poor Georgia hamlet called ‘the Landings’.”
But, what Tennedide recalls with the greatest depth is what young Dear Tik did after business school. Most notable is his leadership in creating the Chucklet Capitol Fund with wealthy classmates to buy out and outsource companies. They began by finding small hippy operations with the seed of a business concept and moved them far to the right and into profit.
Most notable is the rebirth of Chick-fil-A, once an organic chicken stand in Middlebury, Vermont that Tik and Chucklet bought outright and transformed into a leader in drive-thru processed chicken and Right Wing political causes.
As the chicken chain grew into a global brand, Tik went on to lead Chucklet Capitol in the dissolution of regional manufacturers of paper, airplane parts, and durable goods across the country. “There is a difference between outsourcing and off-shoring,” he once explained to liberal critics who questioned the shipment of thousands of jobs to Malaysia and other developing economies.
By the time that the ravages of Chucklet’s investments hit the American economy, Tik had left the company to serve as Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Director of the Hong Kong campus for his mother’s grand vision: the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Though, today’s gold standard for couture arts education and the world’s most profitable university, SCAD was not always that way.
In many ways, Tik came to SCAD’s rescue just in time. By joining his mother, known affectionately and by mandate as “Dear Leader”, Tik enacted a series of real estate transactions, leveraged buyouts of lesser art schools, and the threat of outsourcing faculty positions to remote sites in Malaysia that transformed SCAD into a powerhouse of profit.
With SCAD’s growth in the late 1990s, Tik’s diminutive mother, Dear Leader, who founded the college almost entirely on her own while raising young Tik and his sister Kim Jul Tik in an attic, was finally able to move into a house with a real front door and running water.
Tik leveraged his connections to Chucklet Capitol to fuel SCAD’s investment in a new Center for Equestrian Studies to be run by his English-educated sister, Kim Jul. It would become the nation’s only horse farm owned and run by an arts school.
At the Equestrian Center’s opening in 2000, young Kim Jul Tik observed:
Standing here with my dear mother, our Dear Leader and my dear brother, Dear Tik, I am grateful to serve as the Center’s new director while earning the same kind of modest teacher’s salaries that they have always earned. We as a family could have pursued more enriching careers but for us and for SCAD, it’s always been about the students.
With their well-known familial talents, the Tiks continue to personally teach many of SCAD’s most popular equestrian courses. Kim Jul offers English riding and fashion instruction, Dear Tik, consummate southern gentleman and founder of the popular website, RhettButler.com, teaches the pony carriage arts, and their mother, Dear Leader, a master in all arts, Western cattle roping.
Notwithstanding the horse center’s success and SCAD’s fame for its merit-based hiring practices, there remain a few dark clouds on its horizon. Over the last several years, Tennedide recounts in his memoir how Dear Tik and his mother have struggled with pampered faculty seeking to unionize and their complaints about ever-increasing classroom schedules. There has also been the occasional threat of disaffected and mentally disturbed former administrators impugning the SCAD vision in publications and on the Internet.
Elevating SCAD almost to a business case study in his memoir, Tennedide explains how Dear Tik is applying the advanced the accounting practices that he learned in college. The memoir recounts how Tik has guided SCAD’s administrators in the tracking and an monitoring of potential “enemies”—many of whom are the mentally-disturbed former administrators who continue to propagate false SCAD “secrets” in the blogosphere.
Another recent challenge is unfounded allegations of discrimination and Homophobia at the global chicken outlet, Chick-fil-A.
Still run by many of Tik’s former classmates at Chucklet Capitol, Chick-fil-A maintains an active alliance with SCAD in which the company receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in free design advice from SCAD students who pay SCAD tuition fees for the privilege of doing so.
The recent gay “kiss-ins” in front of the very Chick-fil-A stores that SCAD students are redesigning might prove embarrassing for most universities. But not for Dear Tik and not for SCAD. “Tik just stated the obvious,” Tennedide says admiringly. “He was not working any longer for Chucklet when the chicken outfit, Chick-fil-A became bigoted. The fact that he still holds majority interest in Chucklet Capitol is only incidental.”
From their neighboring porches at The Landings, Dear Leader and her son, Dear Tik expressed their pride in SCAD’s history of corporate sponsorship. Dear Leader encouraged all members of the SCAD community to visit Chick-fil-A. “The highest and best use of a front porch is to enable and encourage the art of conversation. We entertain ourselves with stories on the porch. We invite people in. We sit. We visit.”
All stories on www.SCADSECRETS.com are parodies. All content on www.SCADSECRETS.com is fictionalized and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. This site and the content contained within it are not affiliated with the Savannah College of Art & Design, a University of creative careers founded by Ms. Paula Wallace who is practically perfect in every way.
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