Firm honors exceptional accountancy professors

By Dan Young

The international public accounting firm Ernst & Whinney is establishing a named distinguished professorship at NIU that will initially go to Accountancy Professor Richard Baker.

In establishing the Ernst & Whinney Distinguished Professorship of Accountancy, the firm has committed itself to $75,000 in financial support to NIU, $15,000 per year during the next five years.

John Smith, professor and chair of the accountancy department, said, “The award recognizes NIU’s accomplishments in the field of accounting as evidenced by its ranking by accounting faculty nationwide as one of the top three accounting schools in the country.

“It also recognizes the fact that NIU graduates have the highest first-time pass rate for the CPA exam in the United States and that numerous NIU accounting alumni hold key positons in American Industry. Northern has become recognized as one of the nation’s major sources of CPA professionals,” Smith said.

Roger Nelson, Ernst & Whinney vice chairman and regional managing partner, said the purpose of his firm’s distinguished professorship program “is to both honor outstanding educators as well as to keep the best accounting faculty in major universities.

“Accounting educators provide an extremely valuable service to their students, profession, the business community and general public,” added Nelson who is a 1962 NIU graduate.

Baker, who is the author of numerous professional articles and co-author of an advanced accounting text published earlier this year, was selected for the award by representatives of NIU’s College of Business and department of accountancy. He received the award recently at a special NIU recognition dinner.

Baker said it is one way the firms invest in their own futures. “They wish to assure that quality remains at NIU,” he said.

He also said the award “means that NIU is being recognized for its achievements.”

“It’s a hallmark. I am particularly pleased and honored, and it is quite a noteworthy thing they are doing,” he added.