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Letter From the Chair

Dear Alumni, Friends, Students, Staff and Colleagues:

Thank you for four great years as Department Chair! My mentor Ross Jennings said, “It’s more fun to be chairman when the budgets are generous.” But thanks to you our department weathered the lean years after the financial crisis stronger than ever!

We celebrated our Centennial in 2012, and with your generous help we endowed a $225,000 scholarship fund for MPA students. Thank you too for the midnight dancing, my unnamed Advisory Council friend! It was wonderful to see the tower lit “100” after the gala ended at midnight.

A chair high-point was EY Foundation joining with UT to establish the EY Accounting Ambassador program to fund recruiting scholarships for under-represented minority students with a combination of upstream and downstream mentoring for MPA students by professionals, and for sophomores by MPA students. The incoming tMPA class of 2015-2016 has four new students we could not have recruited otherwise. Thank you EY (and Tim Griffy and Ken Bouyer and Ellen Glazerman) for the $500,000 investment in our inclusiveness and diversity!

Our highly-regarded scholastic and professional faculty members are dedicated to teaching. Deloitte funded an Active Learning Classroom modeled on Deloitte University. Among our eager professors who have enjoyed use of the classroom in 2014-2015 is Brian White, who teaches Financial Statement Analysis to our MPA students. Thank you Deloitte (and Kathleen Farlow) for bringing the future of classroom technology to us so early!

The Holbrook Scholars gift for tax students with financial need is great blessing that I, as a tax professor, appreciate. Thank you, Terri and Ed!

The MPA Program (PPA to you older alumni) has suffered 2 % budget cuts each of the last five years. And yet our student services are more attentive than ever and we’ve built a great professional team for our students. Jim Franklin’s leadership in establishing an MPA platform saved the day. Thank you to our MPA Platform sponsors Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC, ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, Southwest Airlines, Chevron, Spectra Energy, Marathon Oil, Grant Thornton, Dell, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Intel, Holtzman Partners, BVA and Anderson Tax.

During these lean years, so many of you have established named accounting scholarships and have received so much joy in meeting “your” scholar, not only while they were students, but beyond their time on the forty acres. I hope you will accept this invitation to contact incoming chair Robert Freeman if you would like to create one yourself. There is no better way to pay your education forward to a new generation of Longhorns!

Our “Excellence” Funds have preserved and grown our research prominence. Through these funds we are able to purchase data, send faculty to conferences, replace computers, sponsor experiments, enhance CPE, host teaching excellence speakers, pay for travel, support study abroad needs, and in general keep the boat high above the water. Thank you to both our individual and corporate sponsors for making this all possible!

Jim Deitrick is retiring after teaching his final classes in Fall 2015. KPMG’s Bud Giesinger (our 2015 Texas Star!) is championing the peer fundraising effort for the Jim Deitrick Endowed Scholarship for International Accounting Study. We have already raised more than $100,000, and this scholarship will help provide a global educational experience for a student who wouldn’t get this stretch otherwise. Please join us!

Beverly and Will O’Hara, thank you for other gifts great and small – the counsel, the boost, and for always being there for me and the department when an initiative needed the first bit of help; financial or otherwise. And for your planned gifts to doctoral education – the heart of the reason I am ready to return to the faculty. Your gifts make it possible for our legacy of scholarship to prosper into the future. Advisory Council members (listed inside): Thank you for your friendship, and for the fun!

And to our 20,000 alumni – thank you for giving back to the department. I hope you will continue to spread the word that your annual gift is a great way to pay your amazing education forward. Thank you, alumni and colleagues, for letting me sing The Eyes of Texas so often during these four years.

Lillian Mills