College of Business faculty member Theodore Sougiannis was named the KPMG Distinguished Professor of Accountancy at an investiture ceremony on April 12, 2007.
“Today we recognize scholarship,” said University Chancellor Richard Herman, in his introductory remarks.
Indeed, exceptional scholarship was a theme that every speaker would touch upon as they described Sougiannis, who was recognized for his commitment to thorough research, rigorous data, and integrity in properly framing his findings. KPMG CEO Timothy Flynn noted the caliber of Sougiannis’s intellect and his steadfast character, and Thomas Linsmeier, of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, called his work a credit to the academy, colleagues, and students alike.
Sougiannis focuses his research on the use of accounting numbers in stock market valuation, the choice of financial accounting rules, and accounting regulation. His research papers in these areas – often at the interface of accounting and finance – have had significant impacts on the literature and the understanding of accounting phenomena. His work contributes to a deeper understanding of accounting-based equity valuation and to related areas of financial economics. During his remarks, Sougiannis said that this professorship will enable him to continue moving forward with his work.
“I promise to keep producing high-quality research, work hard in improving the accounting curriculum, and providing the best service I can to the University and the
profession of accountancy,” he said.
Larry DeBrock, the associate dean for professional programs in the College, served as emcee of the ceremony and conferred the medallion on Sougiannis. He noted the important place that endowed professorships hold in academia, then interjected a lighthearted moment into the ceremony by encouraging Sougiannis to put the medal to use.
“You’re supposed to wear it to class when you teach,” DeBrock said of the large medallion inscribed with the name of the professorship, the date, and the words, “Learning and Labor,” which refer to the University’s original land grant charter.
Sougiannis, who has been with the College since 1990, thanked KPMG, his colleagues in the College, and especially his family for supporting his work.
“The honor I feel today – thank you is not enough,” he said. “This is the third most important day of my life. The other two days were when my sons were born.”
The KPMG Professorship was created to recognize excellence in business research and education, as part of KPMG LLP’s ongoing commitment to fostering knowledge and thought leadership in partnership with faculty and institutions of higher learning.
"KPMG LLP and the University of Illinois have partnered many times over the years to enrich accounting education," said Ira Solomon, the head of the Department of Accountancy. "Endowing this professorship sends a signal of their continuing confidence in our educational, research and service initiatives."