Ann and Jerry Barton of Southaven, Mississippi, know some University of Mississippi Patterson School of Accountancy students take a non-traditional path to obtain their accountancy degrees — much like they did.
The Bartons also know they want to support the school’s tradition of providing exceptional accountancy education.
“We both benefited tremendously during our time at the Patterson School of Accountancy, and it’s an honor to be able to help ensure that its next generation of students has similar opportunities,” Jerry Barton said.
The couple made a $50,000 gift to the Patterson School of Accountancy Building Fund, which will enable the school to build a new home for UM’s highly acclaimed accountancy program. The gift is being honored with a space in the new building — the Barton Family Study Room — where students can focus on their educational pursuits.
“We took a non-traditional route to Ole Miss,” Ann Barton said, explaining that they earned their undergraduate degrees from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, hers in management and his in finance.
“As we were nearing graduation at Delta State, we both came to the same realization, independent of one another, that if we could go back to college, we would have pursued accounting degrees,” she said.
“As we took accounting courses required for our bachelor’s degrees, we realized that we found the coursework interesting. If you are interested in a business career, like we were, an accounting background can provide you with opportunities to take your career in any number of directions.”
They married shortly after graduation, and Jerry Barton’s first job was serving as a bank branch manager in Oxford, Mississippi.
“We had an interest in accounting and just happened to move to the backyard of one of the preeminent accounting programs in the county,” he said. “It was an easy decision to apply for admission to the Master of Accountancy program at the Patterson School of Accountancy.”
Ann Barton completed the program in 1994 and Jerry Barton finished his master’s degree in 1995.
“Graduating from the Patterson School literally changed the trajectory of our careers,” she said. “The school’s reputation helped open doors for us, and the professors made sure we were well-equipped to take advantage of those opportunities. In addition, we made friendships and connections at the school that continue to this day.”
When completed, the four-story building will feature 110,000 square feet of tiered auditoriums and classrooms, study areas, conference rooms, administrative and faculty office suites, and outdoor balconies and terraces. The building, estimated to cost more than $100 million, will be constructed at the corner of University Avenue and Grove Loop, overlooking the iconic Grove.
“We are grateful to Ann and Jerry for their generous gift supporting our new building,” said Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy.
“The Barton Family Study Room will be a wonderful area for students to study, have group meetings and prepare for success not only in the Patterson School but also in their future careers,” he said.
“We are very excited about what this new building will do for our program and students – and believe it will help us significantly as we pursue our goal of being the top accountancy program in the nation. We appreciate Ann and Jerry’s legacy of excellence and are thankful for their desire to support our efforts.”
Jerry Barton began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers, serving in company offices in Memphis and Atlanta, and later held positions with Smith + Nephew and Luvata before joining AutoZone in 2010. He now serves as vice president for financial planning and analysis at the company’s corporate headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.
Ann Barton began her career with Methodist Health Systems and later held finance and accounting roles for St. Joseph’s Hospital, Horne CPA, and Advance Distributor Products. She has served as the finance manager for Northpoint Christian School in Southaven for over 10 years.
The couple’s children are current UM students. Their daughter, Maddie Barton, earned an undergraduate degree from the School of Education in 2022 and is pursuing a Master of Education in counselor education. Their son, Andy Barton, just completed his freshman year.
The Bartons frequently return to the Oxford campus to visit their children and attend events. They have also been gathering information about the accountancy school’s plans for the future.
“As we learned about the building project and its potential impact on the accountancy program, we knew we wanted to be part of the campaign,” Jerry said. “For years, the Patterson School of Accountancy has consistently been ranked as one of the best programs in the country.
“This new state-of-the-art facility will only further the accountancy school’s reputation.”
To learn more about supporting the Patterson School of Accountancy Building Fund, contact Jason McCormick, executive director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-1757.
Jonathan Scott/UM Development