Dear Alumni and Friends:
What a great year as we turn from our first century to our second!
As always, we are blessed with the best students, and we thank you for sending many of them to us. At graduation this May, we reported that 96% of the MPA graduates had already accepted jobs. We celebrate James Braun, winner of the Elijah Watts Sells Award in 2012. We also continue to place one or more students each year in the prestigious FASB or GASB postgraduate technical assistant program.
This year our students launched an MPA Legacy Campaign to support the MPA Program, with great success out of the gate. 25% of current students donated to the Legacy Campaign, instilling a sense of ownership now and into the future.
We enjoyed welcoming new faculty and staff to the department and program, including newly-minted Assistant Professor Brian White from University of Illinois, who is teaching Financial Statement Analysis to our MPA and MBA students. He conducts research in financial accounting using experimental methods and psychology theory. We hired Assistant Professor Dain Donelson from our own Business, Government and Society department, where he was both a business law and an accounting researcher teaching accounting regulation to MPA students. He conducts research in accounting litigation and will teach Intermediate Accounting. Assistant Professor Judson Caskey joined us from UCLA as a seasoned hire and we appreciate his established reputation in combining analytical and empirical research in financial accounting. He will also teach financial statement analysis.
In addition to these researchers, we hired award-winning lecturer Donna Johnston-Blair from Santa Clara to teach sophomore level accounting and corporate taxation. Our lecturers add deep institutional experience to the classroom, where we enjoy several former CFOs and former professional practice partners.
Spring 2013 also brought some sad good-byes. KPMG Professor Robert May – former dean, former department chair (twice) retired, but offered his last thoughts as our MPA Commencement speaker. Lecturer Will O’Hara has stepped down from the classroom at a true high mark – having just received the “Eyes of Texas Excellence Award” from the anonymous campus-wide committee known as The Eyes of Texas that keeps its eyes on the university’s true contributors. Finally, Professor Urton Anderson – former undergraduate programs dean and former department chair – is retiring this summer from UT-Austin.
In November, I wrote you about our challenges in state funding and the very low alumni participation rate. Many of you heard that call, and so far during the 2012-2013 academic year the participation rate among accounting alumni is up to 6.2%. Thank you! As we noted above, the current students are participating at 25%. Can you match them? The Advisory Council met that challenge and offered $200 for every % point the students participated, and the participation jumped from 15 to 25%.
We also celebrate the successes of our Alumni and Friends. Advisory Council member William Ihlanfeldt was inducted into the FEI Hall of Fame in November. He is working on an article about the origins of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) which he helped launch. Look for that in 2014.
Alumna and Advisory Council Kathleen Farlow led Deloitte to contributions of $250,000, which together with the Deloitte Foundation match enables this opportunity for a total gift of $500,000 for a state-of-the-art classroom modeled on Deloitte University. The whole McCombs School thanks Deloitte!
And finally, EY relationship partner and Advisory Council member Tim Griffy and EY COO Gary Belske championed EY Foundation Director Ellen Glazerman for a $500,000 gift to the McCombs Foundation to create the EY Accounting Ambassadors Program to help attract and support high-quality underrepresented minority students select and succeed in the MPA program and in the profession. Our UT motto is “What Starts Here Changes the World” and this gift can be a game-changer for many first-generation students. Thank you Tim and Gary and Ellen and EY! We will report more on this initiative after it launches this fall.
In closing, I have been reflecting on the inscription from the UT Seal, which you can read about here: http://bit.ly/198j9n8. Popular Greek Professor William Battle conferred with Latin Professor Edwin Fay to translate Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis, Republic of Texas President Lamar’s famous quote, “A cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy.” To help the State of Texas remain a robust engine of commerce in the U.S. and worldwide, our top-ranked accounting department is cultivating minds to be our guardians of commerce and democracy. Thank you for continuing to support us so generously, and “Hook’em Horns!”
Lillian F. Mills, Chair, Department of Accounting