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UM Accountancy Professor Wins SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Dale L. Flesher is a respected researcher and teacher in the field of accountancy. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Dale L. Flesher, the Roland and Sheryl Burns Chair and Professor in the Patterson School of Accountancy, is the 2017 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award honoree for the University of Mississippi.

“What an honor it was to be selected from among top-notch faculty at an R1 institution,” Flesher said. “Receiving this award has provided me with more enthusiasm and energy to continue pursuing my research interests.”
To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, an individual must have achieved the rank of full professor at an SEC institution, have a record of extraordinary teaching and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.
“Most of my previous honors have been awarded by organizations in the field of accounting, and it is humbling to be recognized by colleagues in your discipline,” Flesher said. “However, this award is most special because I will have the opportunity to represent all of the faculty across campus at the University of Mississippi, where I have devoted the last 40 years of my career.”
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati and Ball State University, Flesher joined the faculty in 1977. When Flesher was presented the 2005 Thomas J. Burns Biographical Research Award at the Academy of Accountant Historians Hall of Fame Conference, it was noted that “Dr. Flesher has done more biographical research and publishing than anyone in the field of accounting.”
Flesher has authored more than 400 articles in more than 100 professional journals. He has also written 50 books in 91 editions.
His numerous history books include the 50th anniversary history of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the 75th anniversary history of the American Accounting Association, as well as books on the history of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. He has had five tax books published by Commerce Clearing House, and he published a book on the history of the Ole Miss accountancy program.
Flesher has enjoyed an extraordinary 40-year career with the Patterson School of Accountancy and receiving the SEC Academic Achievement Award is a well-deserved honor, Dean Mark Wilder said.
“Dr. Flesher has served on the dissertation committees of 48 of our Patterson School Ph.D. graduates, chairing half of these dissertations,” he said. “He has made a tremendous impact on the profession through his mentorship of these doctoral graduates, many of whom are in leadership positions in academic institutions across the nation and world.
“Dr. Flesher has played a key leadership role in the successes of the Patterson School over the years and in our ability to have one of the top accountancy programs in the nation. We are honored that he has been selected for this prestigious award.”
Flesher is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Institute of CPAs, Mississippi Society of CPAs, American Taxation Association, Institute of Internal Auditors, Association of Government Accountants, Institute of Management Accountants, American Accounting Association and the Academy of Accounting Historians, which he served as international president in 1988. He served as editor of The Accounting Historians Journal from 1989 through 1994. He previously edited the Accounting Historians Notebook for 10 years.
He has received outstanding educator or outstanding researcher awards from the American Institute of CPAs, the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Academy of Accounting Historians, the Mississippi Society of CPAs and other organizations.
Flesher’s stellar reputation helped bring the American Institute of CPA’s library to the Oxford campus, creating one of the world’s best and largest accounting research resources. He was also instrumental in establishing the university’s Tax History Research Center, Electronic Data Processing Auditing Archival Center and the McMickle Rare Book Library.
The 2011 recipient of UM’s Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, Flesher said he is dedicated to training the next generation of accountancy professors by mentoring graduate students in the field. The 2011 recipient of the AICPA National Outstanding Educator Award, Flesher is among only five accounting faculty from SEC institutions to receive this award throughout its 32-year history. He is associate dean of the UM School of Accountancy and coordinator of all its graduate programs.
“For 40 years now, Dr. Flesher has helped define excellence at the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “This award is another recognition of his role as an outstanding academic leader, an empowering mentor, a committed teacher and one of the most prolific contributors in his field.
“Dr. Flesher’s selection for this award contributes to the national standing of the School of Accountancy and reflects the university’s commitment to learning, discovery and engagement.”
Interim Provost Noel Wilkin agreed.
“It is a great honor for Dr. Dale Flesher to be named our recipient of the SEC Faculty Achievement Award,” he said. “This recognition is a testament to his outstanding contributions to the academy.”
Selected by a committee of SEC provosts, the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are part of SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference.
SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners get a $5,000 honorarium from the conference and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The Professor of the Year, to be named in April, receives an additional $15,000 and will be recognized at the SEC Awards dinner.
Flesher listed three possible uses for his honorarium, two of which involve donating the funds to the university.
“My wife and I have set up an endowment with the University Foundation that supports scholarships for worthy accountancy students, so some of the money may go into that endowment,” he said. Flesher’s wife, Tonya, is also an accountancy professor and a former dean of the School of Accountancy.
“Another option is to donate some of the funds to the university’s Friends of the Library program, of which my wife and I are both life members. I have been a longtime supporter of the J. D. Williams Library, perhaps even more so since it became the ‘National Library of the Accountancy Profession.’ Ole Miss has the largest accountancy library in the world, and I want to be sure it stays that way.”
Flesher said he also has considered holding out a portion of the funds to travel to work with coauthors and to visit sites with primary data sources to help enhance his research.

By Edwin Smith
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