(OXFORD, Miss.) – The longtime teaching and mentoring contributions of University of Mississippi accountancy professors have inspired Barbara and Ed Krei of Oklahoma City, Okla., to commit a $250,000 gift for faculty support to UM’s Patterson School of Accountancy.
“My wife, Barbara, and I were led to provide this faculty support to pay tribute to former accountancy professors and deans Jimmy Davis and the late Gene Peery,” said Ed Krei, who is a managing director of The Baker Group, one of the nation’s largest independently owned securities firms specializing in investment portfolio management for community financial institutions. “These two educators made a great difference in many individuals’ lives and careers, including my own. Their work and commitment as well as that of other accountancy professors put the school on the map.”
The couple’s gift to their alma mater establishes the Edward Krei Lectureship in Accountancy Endowment in the UM school, where the undergraduate and graduate programs are ranked in the top 20 in the nation, according to the Public Accounting Report. The endowment will provide salary supplements, research and creative activity support, and other support deemed appropriate by the accountancy dean.
“We are deeply grateful to Barbara and Ed Krei for this exceptional gift,” said Mark Wilder, dean of accountancy. “We are proud of Ed’s distinguished career and are humbled that he would provide this tremendous support in appreciation of his accountancy professors. Barbara and Ed’s generosity and vision will help us continue building on the Patterson School’s strong teaching and mentoring tradition, a trademark of our program and a vital reason for the successes we enjoy. Their investment in our faculty will provide benefits for generation upon generation of future accountancy students.”
Davis, the Peery Professor of Accountancy, knows Krei as a former student and a professional.
“Ed Krei was a brilliant student who excelled in our program but also received a broad general education at Ole Miss. He seemed focused on success even in his student days,” Davis said. “Ed’s professional career has been fascinating to watch as he used his accounting education to best advantage. He made all the right moves and has kept the University of Mississippi in mind. We are greatly indebted to him for his contributions to the program.”
Krei works out of the Oklahoma home office of The Baker Group, which also has offices in Texas, Indiana, Utah and Illinois. A frequent leader of banking and investment conferences, Krei has been an invited guest speaker for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, among others.
The 1973 graduate – one of several Ole Miss graduates to make the highest score on the CPA exam in their states of residence – has served as a consultant to central banks in Europe and Russia as well as a faculty member of numerous banking schools, including the Graduate School of Bank Investments and Financial Management and the American Bankers Association’s National Commercial Lending Graduate School.
“As I spoke at banking schools around the country, I gained an even greater appreciation for the accountancy professors at Ole Miss and realized the great commitments of time they give their students,” Krei said. “In addition to the preparation they provide in the classroom, they are so involved in the placement of Ole Miss graduates in the industry. I certainly remember them helping me and others prepare for interviews.”
Krei also was recently recognized by the Independent Bankers Association of Texas with its Chairman’s Award for his contributions to community banking in Texas. He has served on the boards of numerous civic and charitable organizations, including Junior Achievement, Goodwill Industries, Rotary Club and the Arthritis Foundation. Krei also has participated in the Leadership Oklahoma City program.
Barbara and Ed Krei met as freshman members of the Pride of the South Marching Band at Ole Miss. She graduated from what is now the School of Applied Sciences and has enjoyed a career as a speech pathologist in the Putnam City Schools in Oklahoma City. The two are the parents of two grown children, Lauren and Barrett, both of whom live in Nashville and are in the healthcare field.
Barbara and Ed Krei visited campus recently for the first time in about a decade.
“The university is very impressive, and the progress and expansion that has taken place is astonishing. However, there continues to be that strong allure of Ole Miss and a great campus beauty,” said Ed Krei.