E&Y’s Williams Shapes ACCY Programs at Bauer

Published on April 27, 2010

Annual Accounting Advisory Board Event Recognizes

Achievements of Students, Alumni, Faculty and Staff

Outstanding Achievement Award recipient Valerie Williams (MBA ’80) is congratulated by, left to right, Ernst & Young partner John King, outgoing Accountancy Advisory Board chair Johnny Veselka (’66) and department chair Gerald Lobo.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and corporate partners from the Department of Accountancy & Taxation at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business celebrated a year of success and growth at the Accountancy Advisory Board Awards Banquet in April.

Held at the Houston Racquet Club, the event recognized contributions within the department and the field, including Ernst & Young audit managing partner Valerie D. Williams (MBA ‘80), who received the Outstanding Achievement Award.

Williams, a longtime member of the Accountancy Advisory Board, leads recruiting efforts for Ernst & Young and has played a vital role in connecting the Big Four firm with UH Bauer students.

She praised her experience as an MBA student at UH Bauer and a member of the college’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi as what led her to her career with Ernst & Young.

“The education, mentoring and experience at UH provided the foundation for all the accomplishments I’ve had in my life,” Williams said. “I had an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry, and when I came to UH to take my first intro to accounting course, (former professor) Tom Edmonds saw in me abilities I had not yet seen in myself.”

Partners like Williams have helped to shape the accounting curriculum at UH Bauer with expanded offerings that reflect industry needs, including the recent introduction of an internal audit program and an upcoming program in oil and gas/energy accounting.

The depth and breadth of the program has translated to student success, said department chair Gerald Lobo, Arthur Andersen Chair and Professor of Accounting. “Our student enrollment continues to grow in both number and quality,” he said. “Our students are in high demand; despite the poor economy, we continue to see strong placement of our Professional Program in Accountancy (PPA) graduates.”

Several students were recognized at the banquet, for strong performances academically and as student leaders. Academic Excellence Awards were given to Bryan Bridges, Wilbert Cadiz, Erica Chau, Esther Clift, Jeffrey Leal and Marina Ruseva, who was also named the Outstanding MS Accountancy Student.

Students, faculty, alumni and corporate partners mingled during the event, including clinical assistant professor Robert Milbrath, the Outstanding Service Award recipient; Kuan Zhao (’07); Houston CPA Society director Michael Spartalis (’72); Houston CPA Society treasurer-elect Dianne Metcalf; and student Bryan Bridges, an Academic Excellence Award recipient.

Leadership Excellence Awards were given to Andrew Conachey, Phuong Dang, Willie Franklin, Johannes Keus, Suong Le and Valerie Zisman. Lisa Berry was honored as the Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA) Outstanding Student.

Faculty and staff were also celebrated, with Lobo noting the importance of their work to the success of students and the program. “None of our success would have been possible without the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff,” he said. “They are the heart of what happens in our department.”

Academic advisor Carol Worsnop received the Staff Excellence Award. Director of Accounting Programs Michael Newman was honored with the Outstanding Teaching Award, while clinical assistant professor Robert Milbrath received the Outstanding Service Award. Assistant professor Haijin Lin, whose research focuses on information economics, regulation and managerial incentives, was named the Outstanding Research Award recipient.

In addition, Lobo recognized Professor George Gamble, who was awarded the 2009 Outstanding Faculty Award in December by the UH Alumni Association, and Professor Art Francia, who is a finalist for the 2010 TSCPA Outstanding Faculty Award.

The event also marked a change in leadership for the Accounting Advisory Board. Immediate past chair Johnny Veselka (’66), past managing shareholder of Briggs & Veselka Co., welcomed Ron Rand, founder of The Rand Group, as the board’s new chair.

By Jessica Navarro

Posted Under: Events, Graduate

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