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Department News

McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

Dr. Michael Granof Retires After 47 Years at UT-Austin

1972. The year the Dow closed above 1000 for the first time in history. The year The Godfather hit theaters... and the year Dr. Michael Granof started working at the University of Texas at Austin. As we dive into his 47 years (yes, 47 years!) of being a Longhorn, let’s take a walk down memory lane and celebrate his legacy at UT.

Michael Granof was born and raised in New York City and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. He then studied economics at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Two years after receiving his BA, he graduated from Columbia University with an MBA concentrating in accounting.

After graduating from Columbia in 1965, Michael enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. He served one year of active duty and a total of six years in the reserves as an electrician’s mate. During two of the six years he was in the reserves, he worked as a Senior Accountant at Coopers and Lybrand in New York City. It was in the Big Apple that Michael discovered that his thirst for knowledge hadn’t been quenched. He decided to return to school to earn his doctorate in accounting from the University of Michigan. “I thought that I would enjoy teaching and the academic life,” Michael said. “Returning to graduate school was most definitely a decision that I never for an instant regretted.”

The move to Ann Arbor would change his life forever on a personal dimension, as well. It was on Michigan’s campus that he met his wife, Dena, at a graduate school coffee hour. The two have now been married 47 years.

After four years of graduate study at Michigan, Michael earned his PhD in 1972. He chose to teach at the University of Texas at Austin for three reasons: UT’s Department of Accounting was a top-ranked program, their faculty were involved in what he thought was an ideal mix of teaching, research, and professional engagement, and – most notably he claims – it was a great institution from which he could leave to teach at any other university after a few years. So he and Dena made the move to the Forty Acres. Much to their surprise, they loved UT and Austin and never left.

Read more about Michael's legacy at UT in The Accounting Times.

AICPA Announces 2018 Elijah Watt Sells Award Winners

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) named the 110 recipients of the 2018 Elijah Watt Sells Award this week, and the Texas McCombs MPA program has three winners:

  • Natalie Gilbert (BBA ’17, MPA ’18) who is currently employed with PwC in Houston, Texas
  • Laura "Elise" Jones (BBA ’17, MPA ’18) who is currently employed with KPMG in Dallas, Texas
  • Minjae Kim (BHP and BBA ’17, MPA ’18) who is currently employed with Analysis Group in Dallas, Texas
  • This award recognizes those who scored a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the CPA exam, passed all four sections of the exam on their first attempt, and completed their testing in 2018. Over 86,000 individuals sat for the CPA exam in 2018.

    78% of Texas McCombs students who took the CPA exam in 2018 passed all four sections; this compares to a 52% pass rate among all over Texas colleges and universities.

    Congratulations to Natalie, Elise, and Minjae, as well as the other 107 winners --- it's an tremendous accomplishment to receive this award!

    See the full list of winners here.

    The Elijah Watt Sells Award was established in 1923 to honor one of the country's first CPAs, Elijah Watt Sells. He was a founding partner of Haskins & Sells (a predecessor to Deloitte) and one of the first practicing CPAs in New York. He also served on the AICPA governing council and helped turn the AICPA into what it is today.

    Donna Johnston-Blair, Steve Smith, and Brady Williams Honored

    The BBA Honor Roll is an initiative of the Undergraduate Business Council (UBC, the student leadership group) to acknowledge those who perform exceptionally well in the classroom in BBA classes, thus enriching the student experience and setting a standard that we all can aspire to.

    We are pleased to announce that Lecturer Donna Johnston-Blair, Lecturer and MPA Director Steve Smith, and Assistant Professor Brady Williams were selected for this honor. Considering a major factor in the selection is their overall instructor rating in the Course Instructor Survey, it’s great to see students recognize our high-quality instructors. It truly highlights the Department’s focus on hiring the best and brightest.

    Congratulations Steve, Donna, and Brady!

    Kristen Valentine Fellowship

    Accounting doctoral student Kristen Valentine has been selected to receive the University of Texas Graduate Continuing Fellowship for the next year. This competitive fellowship provides a $28,000 stipend for 12 months, health insurance assistance, and tuition assistance for up to nine semester hours for the fall and spring semesters and three for summer.

    This is a high honor as students from all across the University are eligible. For a student to be considered, their graduate adviser must submit a nomination to the Graduate School. Faculty review committees evaluate the applications based on major accomplishments since entering Graduate School, a well-defined program of research, a strong personal statement and letters of recommendation.

    Congratulations Kristen!

    Accounting Faculty Promotions

    We are extremely pleased to announce the following faculty members have been recommended by President Fenves for promotion effective September 1, 2018:

    Yong Yu promoted to Professor
    Brian White promoted to Associate Professor
    Terri Holbrook promoted to Senior Lecturer
    J. Kamas promoted to Senior Lecturer

    These are very deserved promotions and it's wonderful to see our faculty recognized for their hard work.

    Lillian Mills Named as AAA Presidential Scholar

    Lillian Mills, the Beverly H. and William P. O'Hara Chair in Business,  has been named as one of two 2018 Presidential Scholars by the American Accounting Association (AAA). She will deliver her first Presidential Research Lecture at the August 2018 AAA Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

    The Board of Directors of the AAA recommended the commission of a series of Presidential Research Lectures, to be delivered at the Annual Meetings of the Association. To encourage broad dissemination, the Board has requested that The Accounting Review publish these lectures. The first lecture was presented in 1999. 

    Michael Clement Chair

    As of August 31, 2018, Robert Freeman will step down after three years as Chair of the Accounting Department. Please join us in thanking Robert for all he has done to enhance the quality of our curricula and teaching, and the impact of our research.

    We are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Clement as Chair of the Accounting Department beginning September 1, 2018.

    Michael Clement is the KPMG Centennial Professor of Accounting at McCombs. He received his Ph.D. in Accounting from Stanford University in 1997, his MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago in 1988, and his BBA from Baruch College in 1980. After completing his Ph.D., he joined the Department of Accounting at Texas McCombs as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 2004, and then to professor in 2011.

    His private industry experience includes serving as VP, Global Investment Research for Goldman Sachs & Co., and VP, Capital Planning and Analysis for Citicorp. He also worked at Deloitte, Haskins, and Sells as a Senior Assistant Accountant.

    Michael’s research and teaching interests include capital market use of financial information for valuation purposes, with particular interests in management disclosures and the activities of financial analysts. His widely-published and influential work appears in the top journals in accounting, finance, and management, including the Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, The Accounting Review, Review of Accounting Studies, Journal of Finance, the Academy of Management Journal, among others.

    He has served on the dissertation committees for over 16 candidates and has served the School, University, and Provost in 35 different positions of advisement and oversight. He was the winner of the Ernst & Young Inclusive Excellence Award in 2009 in honor of his commitment to diversity and inclusiveness at the university. In 2015, Michael was inducted into the Ph.D. Project Hall of Fame in recognition of his work encouraging minority business doctoral students.

    Michael’s research, teaching, and service has prepared him well for this new role, and we hope you will join us in congratulating him.

    Department of Accounting Sweeps 2017 PAR Rankings for 8th Year in a Row

    Continuing our now 8-year streak, the Department of Accounting swept the Public Accounting Report (PAR) Annual Professors Survey earning No. 1 rankings for our undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs.

    For 26 years in a row, McCombs has placed first or second in the undergraduate rankings.
    McCombs has led the master's program rankings for 23 out of the past 24 years.
    Our doctoral program has taken the No.1 spot 14 times in the last 16 years.

    The PAR is billed as “the independent newsletter of the accounting profession since 1978.” For the undergraduate and graduate rankings, professors for the past 35 years have been asked to rank programs at American colleges and universities on a 1 to 10 scale on the single question, “Which programs consistently turn out students capable of some day attaining partner status?” In the doctoral rankings, professors are asked to name the programs they most regard for turning out accounting professors.

    We are extremely excited the PAR once again recognized us for our superior faculty, students, and programs. Hook 'em accountants!

    Brady Williams and Donna Johnston-Blair Honored

    The BBA Honor Roll is an initiative of the Undergraduate Business Council (UBC, the student leadership group) to acknowledge those who perform exceptionally well in the classroom in BBA classes, thus enriching the student experience and setting a standard that we all can aspire to.

    We are pleased to announce that Lecturer Donna Johnston-Blair and Assistant Professor Brady Williams were selected for this honor. Especially considering a major factor in the selection is their overall instructor rating in the Course Instructor Survey. It's great to see students recognize our high-quality instructors as we have always focused on hiring the best and brightest.

    Congratulations Brady and Donna!