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OXFORD, Miss. – Big Four accounting firm KPMG LLP has established the KPMG Professorship in Accountancy at the University of Mississippi.

In 2002 several KPMG partners established a lectureship in accountancy, a position that requires a $250,000 commitment.  Now KPMG partners and other employees have committed to growing the fund to over $500,000 to fund a full professorship.

“We understand the goals and objectives of the Patterson School of Accountancy and we’re happy to step it up and continue our support,” said Matt Lusco, the managing partner in the Memphis, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala., KPMG offices and a UM alumnus. “We benefit a lot from the outstanding talent that’s available to us and we hire a number of Ole Miss graduates in many of our offices around the country. We’re proud of our partnership with the Patterson School and hope to keep growing this position until it reaches the endowed chair level.”

In addition to their financial support, KPMG has granted the Patterson School “Premier” Status. This KPMG designation is given to just 40 schools nationwide for placing high-achieving students in KPMG International’s member firm offices.

“We are especially grateful to KPMG for this generous gift to the Patterson School of Accountancy,” said Wendell Weakley, president of the University of Mississippi Foundation. “KPMG is a longtime supporter of the Patterson School and many of our graduates go on to rewarding careers with the firm. Clearly KPMG is committed to helping provide our students with the best accounting education possible.”

The current holder of the KPMG Professorship is Mark Wilder, who also serves as the interim dean of the Patterson School.

Professorships, endowed chairs and other esteemed positions are usually held by faculty members whose accomplishments indicate national and international leadership in their field.  Typically, the faculty member’s current efforts are focused on enhancing teaching skills and establishing superior records of research or other scholarly activity.

“I am honored to hold the KPMG Professorship,” Wilder said. “Our undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs are all ranked among the top 30 in the nation and KPMG’s support will enable us to continue our tremendous success.  We have a great partnership with KPMG.  We are especially grateful to our alumni with the firm, not only for their financial support, but also for hiring our students and enabling us to achieve “Premier” School status.”

Wilder, who has taught at UM since 1993, is a certified public accountant, whose primary teaching has been in financial accounting. He has conducted research in a wide variety of areas, including earnings forecasting, financial reporting, and issues facing the profession.

Wilder is actively involved in university and professional service, including a term as president of the Northeast Chapter of the Mississippi Society of CPAs. He recently completed a two-year term on the MSCPA Board of Governors. In 2005 he received the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, the highest honor for faculty at Ole Miss.

KPMG LLP’s gift is part of the university’s MomentUM campaign, a four-year initiative to raise $200 million. The campaign, which ends in December 2008, already has raised more than $180 million for scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty support, a basketball practice facility, residential colleges and a new law school on the Oxford campus. Also in the plans is a cancer center at the UM Medical Center in Jackson.

To learn more about the Patterson School of Accountancy, visit .

By Sonia Thompson


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