Building the Future of Accounting

Turner family legacy continues with gift to accountancy school

Pam (left) and Jon Turner enjoy a game at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska, when the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team won the 2022 College World Series. The Turners have given $100,000 toward the cost of a new home for the university’s Patterson School of Accountancy. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi is a step closer to having a new home on the Oxford campus, thanks to a $100,000 gift from one of its own.

“I’ve given to Ole Miss every year since my graduation, but this is a time when I wanted to step it up even more because of the huge opportunity the Patterson School has with this project,” said Jon Turner, a 1978 UM accountancy graduate, member of the steering committee for the new building and a 2021 Patterson School Hall of Fame inductee.

“Our accountancy school has become a gold standard and is perennially ranked in the top 10 nationally among higher education institutions, and No. 1 in the SEC. I believe building this extraordinary structure will push us toward No. 1 in the nation.”

The four-story building, featuring 110,000 square feet of classrooms, study areas, conference rooms, administrative and faculty office suites, is slated for the corner of University Avenue and Grove Loop, overlooking the Grove. Its cost is estimated to be over $75 million.

The Jackson resident retired in 2018 as partner with the local office of BKD LLP – CPAs & Advisors. He and his wife, the former Pam Mills, have two daughters, UM alumnae Raney-Mills Turner and Mary-Crosby Roberts, and six grandchildren. More than 40 members of the extended Turner family have attended the university.

Notably, Turner is the great-grandson of O.J. Turner Sr., a member of the Mississippi Building Commission in 1930 who arranged financial support to improve the football field at Ole Miss. Turner Field was then home to the Rebels for many years.

Also, Jon Turner’s uncle, Thomas Turner, a guard on the 1929 Ole Miss football team and who served as president of the state college board, was instrumental in allocating funds in 1983 for the campus recreation facility. The Turner Center is still used for classes and recreation today.

Jon Turner’s father, O.J. Turner III, as well as his uncles, Tab and Jack, played football and baseball for Ole Miss under legendary coaches Johnny Vaught and Tom Swayze – Jack on the 1960 SEC champion baseball team.

“I was born into a fourth-generation Ole Miss family and Pam into a second-generation Ole Miss family,” Turner said. “We really had no choice. We were indoctrinated, or perhaps brainwashed, from a very early age that there was only one special place that we should go to college and that was Ole Miss.”

Joining Jon Turner (center) at his 2021 induction into the Patterson School Hall of Fame are (from left) daughter Raney-Mills Turner, wife Pam Turner, and daughter and son-in-law Mary-Crosby and Walker Roberts. Submitted photo

Mark Wilder, dean of the school, expressed appreciation for the Turners’ support.

“We are exceptionally grateful to Jon and Pam for their generous gift supporting our new building,” Wilder said. “Their investment will help enable the Patterson School to have the nation’s top accountancy facility and will provide an opportunity for us to pursue our goal becoming the No. 1 accounting program in the country.”

Turner said he’s grateful to be able to help the school that set him on a path to success.

“One day, my freshman-year accounting professor, Gene Peery – who somehow knew my name and of my extended family’s multigenerational involvement with the university – found me in the hallway, grabbed my arm, looked me in the eye, stuck his finger in my chest and informed me I was going to major in accounting,” Turner recalled. “I proceeded to have Mr. Peery for six semesters. We became very close. No doubt he was instrumental in helping me get my first job with a Big 8 firm.”

Turner began his career with the international accounting firm of Peat Marwick Mitchell, now KPMG, in Jackson. Three years later, he joined a five-person local firm that later became Smith, Turner & Reeves and grew into one of the largest CPA firms in Mississippi.

After more than 20 years as managing partner, he guided a merger of his firm and two smaller Jackson firms with BKD LLP, then one of the nation’s 12 largest CPA firms, garnering him the title “father of BKD Mississippi.”

In 2022, professional services firms BKD and DHG merged to form Forvis, and their more than 5,700 partners and team members serve clients in all 50 states and around the globe.

Turner recently completed 15 years of service on the board of trustees of the $85 million Community Foundation for Mississippi, including six years as chair. He serves on the board of governors of the Mississippi Economic Council and the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Foundation.

Turner’s involvement with his alma mater is equally extensive. He is a past president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, serves on its executive committee and has served multiple terms on the UM Foundation board and Ole Miss athletics committee.

Additionally, he provided leadership as a co-chair of the Ole Miss First Campaign and on the steering committee for the campaign to construct The Inn at Ole Miss. He served three terms as an appointed member of the Inter-Alumni Council for Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, which provided a unified voice for the state’s eight public universities.

Turner is an adviser and mentor to his college fraternity, Kappa Alpha, and was awarded the Knight Commander’s Accolade by its national organization, honored as Alumnus of the Year by the chapter and inducted into the statewide Province Court of Honor.

His gift to the Patterson School’s Building the Future campaign is the most recent of many gifts the Turners have made to Ole Miss. In 2001, they established the Jon and Pam Turner Ole Miss First Leadership Scholarship Endowment and in 2022 made another $100,000 commitment to it.

In addition to other gifts to the accountancy school, including contributions to endowments honoring his professors, their support has benefitted the Alumni Association, Ole Miss athletics, The Inn at Ole Miss and Children’s of Mississippi at the UM Medical Center.

To learn more about supporting the Patterson School of Accountancy Building Fund, contact Jason McCormick, executive director of development, at or 662-915-1757.