(OXFORD, Miss.) – Accountancy professionals from Deloitte LLP have joined with the Deloitte Foundation to commit $250,000 to enhancing faculty support at the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy.
The gift to UM’s nationally recognized accountancy school creates the Deloitte Foundation Lectureship in Accountancy, which will provide resources for research and creative support for faculty members, as well as salary supplements.
Barry Atkins of Memphis, a Deloitte partner and UM graduate, said that directing the gift toward faculty support reflects recognition of professors’ role in their students’ career preparation.
“Faculty members serve as the foundation of a successful program,” Atkins said. “The fact that the accountancy programs are nationally ranked is a tribute to the professors. The Patterson School of Accountancy produces some of the best and the brightest young professionals. The professors do an excellent job preparing them for the profession, for their careers and for life in general. We want to ensure the foundation provided by the faculty remains solid.”
Guy Moore of Wilton, Conn., another Deloitte partner and UM graduate, said, “As UM alumni, we are focused on providing meaningful contributions to the university to ensure that it continues to produce talented and well-prepared graduates. Deloitte has a deep commitment to the accountancy profession, and the profession is strengthened by quality graduates who are our future.”
More than 100 of the university’s alumni currently pursue careers with Deloitte, which provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management and tax services to clients. Internships at the organization offer UM students invaluable real-world experiences, and Deloitte professionals also provide leadership through service on the Patterson School’s Advisory Council.
Atkins said, “Many Deloitte partners and professionals, alumni and non-alumni, have committed themselves not only to our extensive recruiting efforts that occur throughout the year, but also monetarily to the Deloitte Foundation Lectureship. Having recruited at a number of universities, we can say that the commitment of UM professors is what distinguishes the talent at Ole Miss from other schools. Graduates are prepared academically, professionally and socially.”
Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School, expressed his appreciation for the support.
“We are profoundly grateful for this tremendous investment by our UM accountancy alumni with Deloitte and by the Deloitte Foundation to enhance the work of the Patterson School of Accountancy,” he said. “This generous gift provides critical resources for faculty support and helps ensure our ability to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain professors of the highest quality. We are honored to have the Deloitte name on a permanent endowment at Ole Miss, and we greatly value our long-standing partnership with the organization.”
UM Accountancy programs have achieved a national top 30 or higher ranking for the last five consecutive years. The 2009 Public Accounting Report places the undergraduate program 19th and graduate program at 18. The undergraduate/graduate rankings place Ole Miss third in the Southeastern Conference after universities of Florida and Georgia.
Moore recalls the day in 1982 when he was admitted as a partner in Deloitte – a meaningful benchmark in his career.
“Among the first few people I called was (the now late) Professor Gene Peery at Ole Miss,” he said. “He set me and many others on a path to career success. The positive impact professors can have on their students is one reason this gift is directed for faculty support. I received so much from the university as far as academics, career preparation, life lessons and friendships. It is easy to remain committed to a university where you’ve gained those benefits.”
Atkins concurred, “When I was a freshman, I didn’t know what path I wanted to take. Accounting became the choice because of my affinity for math and analytical thinking. Many professors invested a great deal of time in my college career to ensure I was successful, from Dr. Finley Graves and Dr. Russell Briner, to Dr. Jimmy Davis.”
About the Deloitte Foundation:
The Deloitte Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports teaching, research and curriculum innovation in accounting, business and related field within the United States. The Foundation, founded in 1928, supports an array of national programs, which are relevant to a variety of professional services, and which benefit middle/high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. For more information, please visit the Deloitte Foundation web page at www.deloitte.com/us/df.