For the last half-century, Paul W. Parkison and Ball State’s accounting department have been synonymous. Now, the relationship has been formalized as result of a $3 million fundraising campaign.
The university has renamed the department as the Paul W. Parkison Department of Accounting to honor the former chair and professor who championed student-centered education and built relationships with accountants around the nation.
“He was known for his ability to teach at the highest levels and that strong relationship he built with the professional accounting community was instrumental in the development of our program,” said Mark Myring, chair of the newly christened department. “Establishing and maintaining this relationship ensures the faculty remain current with cutting-edge practices.
“Such relationships also help provide employment opportunities for our students. Following Dr. Parkison’s lead, our faculty have worked hard to maintain and enhance the department’s engagement with the profession.”
“One of the goals of this campaign was to create a legacy fund that would honor a professor who has touched the lives of thousands of people,” she said. “Whenever I would talk to someone about honoring Dr. Parkison, they would immediately smile and simply ask what they could do. We had more than 300 people give because of their gratitude and love for this man who transformed the department of accounting and Ball State.”
Mentor to several generations
From 1966 to 2001, Parkison, ’58 MA ’61, taught accounting to students who went on to become business and community leaders, entrepreneurs and certified public accountants.
“They put my name on the wall out there, but I had a lot of help over the years,” Parkison said during the dedication ceremony in Whitinger Business Building. “We have developed an excellent program, and it has been growing for years. I think our efforts will help it continue to grow, providing alumni with a lot of pride.”
During his tenure, the number of accounting faculty tripled, Ball State became the first public university in Indiana to achieve separate AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation for its accounting program and the department was ranked in the top 12 percent in the nation.
Tony Smith, ’68, who chaired the campaign, heard many heartwarming stories during the 18-month endeavor.
“There are many of his former students that described to us how he changed their lives with the mentoring and personal interaction he provided on a daily basis. He put the Miller College of Business accounting department on the map.”
Rebekah Bales, ’16, who will finish her MBA this summer, believes that Parkison’s legacy is required reading in the accounting department.
“It’s very inspiring to learn how far he came and how he built this program over the years,” said the resident of Lewisville, Indiana. “He was instrumental in the lives of so many people as they took classes and then went on to have amazing careers. It is encouraging to hear the stories and realize his gigantic impact he has had on so many people.”
Campaign is transformational
Future generations of students will benefit from the two key initiatives funded through the Paul W. Parkison Legacy Campaign:
- a master’s program track with an emphasis on developing future education-oriented accounting faculty.
- an executive professor in residence, who will provide a direct connection to current practices and trends through speakers, internships and external partnerships.
As part of the campaign, a former classroom will be transformed into a high-tech learning center, educating and developing students enrolled in accounting courses and immersed in an experiential learning environment.
The room is sponsored by Katz, Sapper & Miller, one of the top CPA firms in the nation, providing tax, accounting and consulting services for a wide range of industries.
David Charles, ’79, a partner at Katz, Sapper & Miller, joined more than 300 other Ball State graduates in contributing to the campaign.
“We hire a lot of Ball State students because of the quality of the program that Paul built,” said Charles, who received the department’s Award of Excellence in 2013. “I was lucky to have Dr. Parkison for my CPA review. He was a gifted educator. He made you feel comfortable and could take pretty boring material and make it relevant. He could make things come to life.”