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Jones & Company and Louis & Ann Schaaf Establish Distinguished Professorship in Accounting


JONESBORO – An accounting firm and a local couple want to see the Department of Accounting at Arkansas State University attain a higher level of success, and they have joined resources to make that happen.

Jones & Company partners Sherry Stringer, Brent Stidman and Jeremy Watson along with Louis and Ann Schaaf have stepped forward to advance the quality of accounting education in the College of Business.

The College of Business announced the donors have committed gifts totaling $250,000 to establish the Jones & Company/Louis and Ann Schaaf Distinguished Professorship in Accounting at A-State.  The selected individual will be charged with reaching specific goals for the degree program.

"The number one most critical thing to the quality of education we provide our students is the instruction that our professors provide," said Dr. Shane Hunt, dean of the College of Business.  "This gift is transformative in allowing us more resources to hire the absolute best accounting professors, to hire people who will change our students' lives forever."

The Jones & Co. partners , who also are A-State alumni, expressed distinct motivations for their gift commitment.  "Being in Jonesboro, we hire a lot of A-State accounting graduates," Stringer said.  "We are very interested in contributing so that we can improve the graduates and be a part of the university getting better and better."

Watson emphasized his own experience, saying "The university helped me so much to get to where I am, it makes me want to give back."  Stidman called the A-State graduates they hire "the backbone of our firm.  The brighter those students are, the more successful we are as a CPA firm."

Touching on his goal for establishing distinguished professorship, Schaaf discussed the importance of the accounting profession and how the need for good accountants will only grow.

"I'm glad that Dr. Hunt has taken the initiative to really expand what we've got in the Accounting Department.  We want the best professors that we can get, we want the professors with experience and knowledge to be teaching our younger people about accounting and the techniques that are used in the business world," said Schaaf, also an alumnus.

"This gift is truly extraordinary in the level of generosity and what it allows us to do," Hunt also said, discussing how the endowment will help the College of Business be more competitive in hiring top professors in the field.  Because of the talent level of the individual who holds the endowed professorship, ". . . their impact on our students on their education and  what we want to be as a College of Business at Arkansas State University will be transformative."

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