Sparling arrived at Trinity in 1976 as an assistant professor in the Department of Health
Care Administration. Two years later, he became chairman and director of the department's Center for Professional Development. Through this position, he was instrumental in establishing HCAD's executive program for administrators with experience who wanted to enrich their knowledge through a rigorous master's degree program. It was believed to be one of the first non-traditional graduate health care management programs in the United States.
"Ted cared deeply about his students. He was a friend and mentor to many," said Mary Stefl, professor and former chair of the Department of Health Care Administration.
Outside of Trinity, Sparling served as chairman of a management study group to reorganize the Texas Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation and help initiate the Texas Consortium of Geriatric Education Centers.
Sparling earned a doctorate from the School of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, a master's in health administration from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas A&M University. Sparling retired from Trinity in 2010.
Dr. Sparling specifically requested there be no memorial service. His remains will be interred in a family plot in Gordon, Texas at a later date.