Enhancing a Legacy

Kreis make gift to support university's new accountancy school building

A recent gift from Ed and Barbara Krei will go toward construction of a new home for the Patterson School of Accountancy.

OXFORD, Miss. – Ed and Barbara Krei, of Edmond, Oklahoma, have a long, generous history of supporting the University of Mississippi, especially the Patterson School of Accountancy.

In recent years, they established an accountancy lectureship endowment that was later elevated to the chair level. Though they’ve provided more than $1.5 million to support the school’s faculty and students, the couple is expanding their legacy with a $600,000 gift to the Patterson School of Accountancy Building Fund.

“The University of Mississippi has established a world-class accountancy program with its Patterson School of Accountancy,” Ed Krei said. “A world-class school needs a world-class facility and, after reviewing the plans for the new accountancy building, I’m convinced the plans will accomplish that objective.

“When completed, the new building that has been designed for the Patterson School of Accountancy will do much to add to the success of what is already a remarkable program.”

Gifts to the fund go toward the construction of a four-story building that will house the school. The 110,000-square-foot structure will overlook the Grove from the corner of University Avenue and Grove Loop.

Ed Krei

“We appreciate so much Ed and Barbara’s generous support of the Patterson School of Accountancy over the years,” said Mark Wilder, the school’s dean. “We are honored to have one of our faculty members, Dr. Kendall Bowlin, receiving support from the Krei Chair of Accountancy and are proud that one of our large first-floor classrooms in the new building will bear the Krei name.

“Our program is experiencing many successes these days. We have outstanding faculty members committed to becoming the No. 1 accounting program in the country.”

Ed Krei, a member of the UM Foundation board of directors, earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in business administration with an emphasis in accountancy from Ole Miss in 1973. Accountancy was part of the School of Business Administration until 1979, when it became a separate school.

He was a gold medalist on the CPA exam in Tennessee and has served on the faculty of numerous banking schools. He is also a trustee of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

Krei fondly recalled his years as a student at Ole Miss, especially the support and guidance he and other students received from the accountancy school’s administrators and faculty members, such as the late professor Gene Peery.

“What was always so meaningful to me was the interest the faculty took in their students, whether it was inside an accountancy classroom or outside the classroom at a School of Business Administration event,” he said.

For instance, the Mississippi Bankers Association conducted its annual banking school on the Oxford campus, and for many years Krei was a member of that school’s faculty. Shirley Crawford was the school administrator and knew how much he respected Gene Perry. She told Peery when Krei would be presenting at the school, and Peery sat in on Krei’s classes on more than one occasion.

“It was a simple thing, but that was the greatest compliment I could have received from someone I admired so much,” Krei said. “I owe much credit to people at Ole Miss like Shirley and Eddie Crawford and Gene Peery who created their legacy of inspiration and service to Ole Miss students.

“Because of the variety of ways that the School of Accountancy supported me as a student as well as in my career after I graduated, I appreciate being able to support the school.”

Ed Krei (right) visits with Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy. Submitted photo

Ole Miss is the top accounting school in the SEC and has ranked among the top 10 programs nationally for a decade. Big4AccountingFirms.org recently ranked the program as No. 8 in the nation.

The school offers a bachelor’s degree, four master’s degrees and a doctorate in accountancy. The master’s degrees include the traditional Master of Accountancy and Master of Taxation, as well as master’s degrees in data analytics.

In 2021, UM granted a record 588 accounting degrees, with 253 of those being master’s degrees.

Over the three-year period from 2020 to 2022, eight Ole Miss students earned the prestigious Elijah Watts Sells Award, the most renowned CPA exam award worldwide. This ranks the school No. 1 in the SEC and tied for No. 4 nationally in the number of Sells awardees over the past three years.

The Kreis’ gift adds to Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss, a fundraising initiative to secure $1.5 billion in private support to strengthen the university for generations to come.

For more information about supporting the school’s new home, contact Jason McCormick, director of development, at jason@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1757.