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Deloitte, Foundation Endow $1.5M UM Accountancy Chair

By Jonathan Scott

University of Mississippi

Barry Atkins (left), managing director of Deloitte & Touche LLP and a UM accountancy graduate, visits with Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy, on the Ole Miss campus. Deloitte and its foundation have funded a $1.5 million named chair in the school. Photo by Kirsten Simpson/UM Development

Professional services firm Deloitte and its foundation are expanding support of the University of Mississippi Patterson School of Accountancy with a gift of $1.5 million to establish the Deloitte Foundation Chair of Accountancy.

The new chair is funded by contributions from Deloitte partners, principals, managing directors and employees who are UM graduates, coupled with Deloitte Foundation matching gifts. With this addition, the School of Accountancy has eight endowed chairs, two endowed professorships and one endowed lectureship.

Establishing the Deloitte Foundation Chair of Accountancy provides the school the resources it needs to appoint a “nationally recognized scholar to this new position,” said Barry Atkins, of Memphis, managing director at Deloitte & Touche LLP and a 1987 UM accountancy graduate.

“Faculty members are a key driver in preparing students for the future of work and the profession,” Atkins said. “I have fond memories of many professors at Ole Miss. The impact they had on me, my college experience and my career was immense. 

“I am proud of the Deloitte UM alumni who, by virtue of this gift, are helping attract and retain top educators teaching the next generation of business leaders.”

The ideal candidate for the Deloitte Foundation Chair will be an “all-around outstanding faculty member with a great focus on students, teaching and preparing students for the profession,” said Mark Wilder, dean of the school. “We also want the Deloitte Foundation chairholder to have a national reputation for research while being a committed steward for the Patterson School and the University of Mississippi.”

The foundation’s matching support demonstrates the organization’s commitment to quality accounting education, Wilder said.

“We appreciate so much all that Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation are doing for our students, faculty and program,” he said. “The Deloitte Foundation Chair in the Patterson School will play a crucial role in helping us attract and retain the very best professors nationally.”

This latest gift builds on the organization’s previous gift of $250,000 to the university to create the Deloitte Foundation Lectureship in Accountancy. That fund provided resources for research and creative support for faculty members, as well as salary supplements.

“Having a Deloitte Foundation Chair will help to further strengthen UM’s accounting school, which is already recognized as one of the top in the nation,” Wilder added.

The Patterson School programs have been ranked in the top 20 in the nation by the Public Accounting Report each year since 2008. Earlier this year, Big4AccountingFirms.org released a list of the “50 Best Accounting Schools in the USA,” and the Patterson School was ranked No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC.

According to its mission, the Deloitte Foundation is dedicated to supporting education through a variety of initiatives that help develop the talent of the future and their influencers. Additionally, the foundation seeks to promote excellence in teaching, research and curriculum innovation with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion through an education lens. 

“We are honored to have the Deloitte Foundation name on an endowed chair at Ole Miss and we greatly value our long-standing relationship with the organization,” Wilder said. “Their investment will enhance the work we do and impact the lives of our accountancy students for years to come.”

To learn more about supporting the Deloitte Foundation Chair of Accountancy or the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Jason McCormick, director of development, at jason@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1757.

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