The Heider College of Business honored six beloved members of its accounting department on Nov. 16 at Omaha Country Club during an event dubbed the Godfathers of Accounting. Over 130 former students, family members and colleagues gathered to recognize the stellar service of longtime professors Ronald E. Flinn, DBA; Jack Krogstad, PhD; Tom D. Lewis, PhD; Thomas J. Purcell III, BSBA’72, JD’77, PhD; Vasant H. Raval, DBA; and Thomas A. Shimerda, PhD.
Collectively, the Godfathers of Accounting have over 220 years of classroom instruction time at Creighton; over the past 40 years, an estimated 1,400-plus accountants have benefited from their expertise. Many of their students have gone on to pursue successful careers at such notable companies as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and McGladrey & Pullen.
The Rev. Thomas J. Merkel, SJ, began the evening with a reflection and Dean Anthony Hendrickson, PhD, followed with a department overview. Alumni speakers who spanned the decades and traveled from as far as Nashville, Tennessee offered testimonials attesting to both their professors’ academic prowess and their commitment to their students’ individual formation as human beings.
Lauren Bond, BSBA’13, spoke of their work ethic and how they were not just professors but mentors and role models. “Their work did not stop when we left the classroom,” said Kevin Monroe, BSBA’83, referencing the countless letters of recommendations, good counsel and life-long friendships the Godfathers offered their former students. Maggie Knight, BSBA’01, said they were “the walking embodiment of Jesuit education” in that they demonstrated personal care for each individual student. As a new member of the accounting department, she spoke to keeping the group’s tradition alive as she and her colleagues teach future accounting students in the spirit of her predecessors.
Purcell concluded the program by thanking his colleagues and acknowledging the contribution of the generation of professors who came before him. “We’ve done what we have been called to do,” he stated.
Ronald B. Gartlan, BSBA’69, accounting alumnus, Creighton University Governing Board member and president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, provided the evening’s dessert and brought his company’s popular spokesman, further tying together the event’s theme. Beta Alpha Psi accounting honor society students welcomed guests.
“It it right that we celebrate and thank these Godfathers of Accounting for their years of service,” said Dean Hendrickson. “They are loved by generations of students and have helped make the Department of Accounting the rigorous academic – and award-winning – program it is today.”