The impact of a great professor on a student can last a lifetime. Mike Seibold ‘77 has a degree in accountancy and his Certified Public Accountant license, and he still recalls with fondness the experience of Professor Ken Perry’s CPA review class 35 years later.
“You never wanted to miss a class, not because you had to go but because it was fun. Professor Perry had the respect of every student in the class, he knew our names and he got to know all 100 or so of us. He was really good at relating to people,” recalled Seibold.
“Perry would say [of the CPA exam], ‘It’s hard but you only have to get a 75!’”
Such was the earthy wisdom that attracted students to his CPA prep classes for much of his 40+ year career at ILLINOIS.
Everett Westmeyer, who graduated in 1979, says Perry’s positive attitude helped students feel confident that they were going to pass the CPA exam. “His energy became your energy. His strategies for success became your strategies for success. He truly believed it and he made you believe it,” Westmeyer said.
Not all professors are remembered quite so vividly after 30 or more years but the teaching commitment made by accountancy faculty at ILLINOIS is remembered by most. Collectively, the professoriate has enabled graduates to advance to the highest levels of public and private businesses for nearly 100 years. Their concerted efforts have grown the prestige of an ILLINOIS degree in accountancy to a credential that opens doors and commands respect. Perry is remembered as an important force in the department.
“Ken was for a very long time an innovative leader in accountancy education,” says Ira Solomon, head of the department of accountancy. “He demanded excellence of his students and helped them to achieve it. He is an icon in the annals of accountancy education.”
A group of proud alumni of the accountancy program at ILLINOIS recently made a generous gift to the College to honor Perry’s excellence as a teacher and to further promote effective teaching. The Professor Kenneth Perry Fellowship now recognizes Professor Perry and honors his contributions to accountancy education as a whole.
Professor Perry officially retired in 1985 but continued to teach until 1990. He turned 91 in May.
Contributions to the Professor Kenneth Perry Fellowship fund should be sent to:
University of Illinois Foundation
515 East Gregory Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
You may also visit Development online at www.business.illinois.edu/development.