University Honors Burns Family with Building Dedication

State-of-the-art residence hall, team meeting room named in honor of accountancy alumnus

Roland Burns with wife, Sheryl, son Derek, Ole Miss Accountancy Professor Jimmy Davis and son Tyler stand in front of the newly dedicated Burns Hall. Roland and Derek shared Davis as a professor while at Ole Miss, and youngest son, Tyler will be taking a class Davis is teaching this fall.

Roland Burns with wife, Sheryl, son Derek, Ole Miss Accountancy Professor Jimmy Davis and son Tyler stand in front of the newly dedicated Burns Hall. Roland and Derek shared Davis as a professor while at Ole Miss, and youngest son, Tyler will be taking a class Davis is teaching this fall.

OXFORD, Miss. – A crowd of nearly 100 students, faculty and staff participated in a ceremony hosted Friday (April 4) by the University of Mississippi to honor Sheryl and Roland Burns of Frisco, Texas, for their legacy of support with the naming of a premier campus residence hall and the new football team meeting room in the Manning Performance Center.

The Burnses have given generously to support both academic and athletics programs, with their recent $2 million gift elevating their lifetime giving to more than $5 million. Roland Burns, a 1982 graduate who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in accountancy, says it is humbling to see his family’s name on the building.

“It is not anything I ever thought I would see,” Burns said. “It is a really attractive building and there is a lot of history here (on this campus). We are so proud to be associated with Ole Miss and the School of Accountancy; it has been such an outstanding program.”

The Public Accounting Report, the independent newsletter of the accounting profession, recently rated UM’s undergraduate accountancy program as No. 4 in the country (behind Texas, Illinois and Brigham Young) and the master’s and doctoral programs at Nos. 5 and 8, respectively. The accountancy programs are No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference.

Burns Hall, which has been temporarily known as Ridge South, stands on the site of the former Miller Hall. Burns Hall opened in August 2012 and is one of three new residence halls on that site. The four-story structure houses 272 students and provides a shared courtyard and many of the amenities requested by students, including private bathrooms, microwaves, refrigerators in each room, study rooms, community kitchens, laundry facilities and lounges with TVs on each floor.

“Today, the residence halls are an extension of the learning experience, and when we talk about the Ole Miss family, it’s important that we know our family comes home here every night,” said Brandi Hephner Labanc, UM vice chancellor of student affairs. “We see this as a wonderful extension of our academic environment, and we are grateful to the Burnses for being involved in the living learning experience here.”

With a growth in enrollment on the Oxford campus from 9,412 in the fall of 1982 to 18,423 in fall 2013, much has changed since Burns graduated. The former Kincannon Hall resident noted that the housing looks quite different than when he was a student here.

It was a visit from UM Provost Morris Stocks, who at the time was the new dean of the School of Accountancy, and Debbie Vaughn, senior executive director of development, that reinvigorated Burns’ connection to the university. They visited Burns in Texas, where he is president and chief financial officer of Comstock Resources Inc. Stocks asked Burns to create an intern program in his company’s financial reporting department that would provide opportunity for Ole Miss undergraduate students.

“Morris got us interested by showing us the success the (accountancy) program is having on the national level, and that gave us a deep sense of pride,” said Burns, who transferred from Mississippi State after his freshman year to join the then-new accountancy school in its first year of programs set apart from the School of Business Administration.

“Being a part of something new made all of us know we were part of something special. Giving back through the internship program and in other ways is really rewarding to us, and we are grateful to be included as part of the Ole Miss family.”

This was the second time in a year that a campus building has been named for a Patterson School alumnus. Another of the Ridge residence halls was named last spring for alumnus Lucian Minor.

“There is much to celebrate today, as we are so grateful to Roland and Sheryl for their continued dedication to the university,” said Chancellor Dan Jones. “They support us financially and today, they are lending us their name, and what a great thing for the university to be associated with their name.”

Stocks praised the Burnses for their holistic approach to support for the university.

“The Burnses have continued to support our school and our university in many ways, including the Burns Chair in Accountancy,” Stocks said. “Outside of the major public accounting firms, (Roland) has also recruited more accountancy students to our program and formed an internship program at his company that is critical to our program. The Burnses’ lend constant moral support to our efforts to transform lives. We are a better place because Roland chose to attend Ole Miss.”

During a ceremony held earlier in the day, Ole Miss Athletics honored the Burnses with the naming of the team meeting room. That naming took place in conjunction with the ribbon-cutting for the newly- renovated Indoor Practice Facility, now called the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center.

“Sheryl and Roland support excellence in academics and support academics in athletics equally, making sure that we move forward together,” Jones added. “They are making a big difference in the lives of students in their local community and here. We are so grateful to them.”

Along with family friends, the Burnses were joined by their sons Derek, an Ole Miss graduate student in accountancy who earned a bachelor’s degree here in 2013, and Tyler, an Ole Miss freshman majoring in biology with a minor in accountancy. Their daughter, Stephanie, is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.

Easing the Pain of Tax Time

Two programs offer free help to make filing taxes a bit easier

OXFORD, Miss. – It’s one of the things you can count on: taxes. As the time arrives to begin thinking about filing 2013 tax returns, two programs featuring University of Mississippi law and accountancy students are providing free assistance to the community.

Second- and third-year Ole Miss law students will provide full-service tax preparation for basic federal and state returns. Through April 8, students participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic will be available from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Oxford-Lafayette County Library, 401 Bramlett Blvd. Assistance is free for people whose combined annual household income is less than $52,000.

Last year, the clinic students donated more than 1, 000 volunteer hours and completed nearly 250 returns that generated nearly $250,000 in refunds. Both the community and the student volunteers benefit from the experience, said Adrea Watford, clinic site director and a third-year law student.Read the story …

Speaker’s Edge Competition Helps Hone Presentation Skills

Annual event challenges students to prepare, think and state their case before judges

Speaker's Edge graduate level winner, Phillip Clothiaux

OXFORD, Miss. – In today’s world, college graduates entering the workforce with well-developed speaking skills have a huge advantage. University of Mississippi students recently got an opportunity to hone their public speaking skills and vie for a championship during the 11th annual Speaker’s Edge Competition.

The program culminated in a two-day competition, where students present three different presentations before a panel of judges loaded with industry business leaders.

The program is open to graduate accountancy students enrolled in Accountancy 503, MBA students enrolled in MBA 603 and undergraduates in engineering, journalism and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence enrolled in Speech 105. In these courses, students spend a week-and-a-half working with communication coaches, who provide early preparation and a point person to answer questions and guide the students through the process.

Graduate student winners included Phillip Clothiaux, of Rogersville, Mo., who was named overall Speaker’s Edge champion; Julian Sanchez and Victoria Ragland, both of Jonesboro, Ark., who were first-place winners in the ethical dilemma and marketplace pitch categories, respectively; and Chris Conley, of Bradenton, Fla., who took first place in the informative category.

Read the story …

UM Accountancy Alumni Find Success in International Tax Practice

Trio recently helped establish new London office for Butler Snow

Barry Cannada

OXFORD, Miss. – Three graduates from the Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi are doing big things in the world of international tax law practice. They helped establish Butler Snow‘s first overseas office, which opened in London earlier this year.

Brad Westerfield, Samantha Moore and Kurt Rademacher are attorneys who also hold accountancy and tax degrees from UM, as well as LL.M. degrees in taxation from New York University and their law degrees. They are among four lawyers on the staff of Butler Snow UK LLP.

R. Barry Cannada, chairman of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada’s business department, holds both accountancy and law degrees from UM. He said the new UK office has an impressive list of clients, including billionaires from around the world who trust Westerfield, Moore and Rademacher.

“They are as good as anyone in the world at what they do,” Cannada said.

Read the story …

Brown Bag Lecture to Examine University’s Accountancy Resources

J.D. Williams Library home to the world's largest accountancy collection

OXFORD, Miss – The tremendous accountancy resources available at the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library are the focus of a brown bag lecture by Dale Flesher, a longtime professor and associate dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy, set for Oct. 31.

“Accountancy Resources at Ole Miss” is slated for noon in the library’s Faulkner Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Flesher will primarily speak about “Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita (“Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion”).” Written by Luca Pacioli and published in 1494, this was the first written account of double-entry bookkeeping. For the next 400 years, the majority of accounting books were based on Pacioli’s work.

“We have the largest accounting library in the world,” Flesher said. “Our accountancy holdings are nearly triple that of the second-largest library in the world.”Read the story …

UM Accountancy Programs Move Up in Latest Rankings

All-time best rankings place undergraduate at fourth, master’s at fifth and doctoral at eighth

UM Accountancy programs garnered all-time best rankings in 2013.

UM Accountancy programs garnered all-time best rankings in 2013.

OXFORD, Miss. – Setting the bar for other Southeastern Conference institutions, all three accountancy programs at the University of Mississippi are ranked in the Top 10 nationally by the Public Accounting Report in its latest edition.

In its August 2013 issue, the independent newsletter of the accounting profession ranks the Patterson School of Accountancy‘s undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs at Nos. 4, 5 and 8, respectively, in their categories. Last year, the undergraduate and master’s programs were both ranked ninth.

The Patterson School’s three programs are the highest ranked in the Southeastern Conference. Other SEC undergraduate programs ranked in the top 25 are Texas A&M (7), and the universities of Florida (9), Georgia (11), Missouri (12), Alabama (23) and Tennessee (24).

Other highly ranked master’s programs include Texas A&M (8), Missouri (11), Florida (13), Georgia (14), Tennessee (24) and Alabama (26). The doctoral rankings include Texas A&M (10), Georgia (14), Missouri (16), Florida (19) and Alabama (24).

This is the 32nd annual PAR Professors Survey, which bases its results on votes from professors of accounting at U.S. colleges and universities. This is the sixth consecutive year UM programs have ranked in the top 25 nationally.Read the story …

School of Accountancy Jumps in National Rankings

Undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs all rise

Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy.

OXFORD, Miss. – Once again, the University of Mississippi’s undergraduate and graduate programs in accountancy have achieved all-time highs in the annual Public Accounting Report national rankings.

This year, all three degree programs are among the nation’s top 10. The undergraduate and master’s program are both ranked No. 9 nationally, and the doctoral program comes in at No. 8. Both the master’s and doctoral programs lead the Southeastern Conference in the rankings, with the undergraduate program No. 2 in the SEC.

Dean Mark Wilder attributes numerous factors to the rankings success, including outstanding faculty and students and a loyal alumni base.

“We have an outstanding group of faculty who are committed to working together to achieve the common goal of having one of the top accounting programs in the nation,” Wilder said. “Our faculty are all CPAs, and there is a long-standing commitment in the Ole Miss School of Accountancy to teaching excellence and helping students.Read the story …

Minor Hall Named in Honor of Successful UM Alumnus

Lucian Minor lauded for dedication to helping students and supporting university’s academic mission

OXFORD, Miss. – When Lucian Minor graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1937, the student body included some 3,000 students – all on the Oxford campus – and residence halls were spartan, compared to modern accommodations.

Minor, who earned an accounting degree at Ole Miss, has returned to campus frequently over the years, helping mentor many UM accountancy students and hiring dozens of them at his Memphis accounting firm. He and his wife, Mary, came back Thursday (April 25) to watch as one of the university’s three newest residence halls was named for them.

“Since I graduated here, the campus has changed tremendously – for the better,” Minor said. “This is a beautiful building, and it’s a great honor to have it named for us.

Read the story …

Minors Increase Accountancy School Support with Gift Annuity

1937 graduate helps play role in school's national top 10 ranking

Mary and Lucian Minor

Mark Wilder (left), dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi, and UM Chancellor Dan Jones (right) visit with Mary and Lucian Minor, who recently recently provided more than $5 million in gift annuities to the school for scholarships and faculty support.

OXFORD, Miss. – In the mid-1930s when money was tight and few part-time jobs were available, Lucian Minor struggled financially as a University of Mississippi student. The Ole Miss cafeteria had to rearrange its food line, in fact, because the creative young student would choose a 5-cent bowl of soup and load it up with vegetables before he reached the cashier.

Minor’s $12-a-month meal ticket lasted longer with the addition of the hearty vegetables. Cafeteria workers finally caught on and moved the soup by the cashier. Today, that frugal 1937 graduate is one of the major benefactors of UM’s Patterson School of Accountancy and has committed a new gift.Read the story …

Students Harness Power of Verbal Communication

Speaker's Edge winners earn awards, scholarship money

OXFORD, Miss. – Nervousness, sweaty palms and butterflies in the stomach were common at the Speaker’s Edge competition at the University of Mississippi, but at the end of the two days, students were more confident in their public speaking abilities.

The competition recognizes that communication is a vital part of the business world and features a six-to-eight minute informative speech; a six-to-eight minute marketplace pitch, in which MBA students share their best business ideas with industry leaders; and an “ethical dilemma,” for which they have 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech. This year, graduate accountancy students also participated.Read the story …