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AMERICAN ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATION
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February 20, 2019

Four elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame

The American Accounting Association has elected four new members to The Accounting Hall of Fame. The four, William L. Campfield, Major J. Lee Nicholson, Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, and Stephen H. Penman, will be formally inducted at the August 2019 annual meeting of the AAA in San Francisco.

The Hall of Fame originated at Ohio State University in 1950, and inducted 97 members over the decades of its activity. Its operations were assumed by the AAA in 2017.

Bruce Behn, a Past President of AAA, who chairs The Accounting Hall of Fame Committee, noted that this year’s class of inductees represents an array of thought leaders from a variety of practice and educational backgrounds. The nomination process engaged members of The Hall of Fame, the AAA, and other professional accounting organizations.

Brief profiles of the inductees are as follows:

William L. Campfield (1912-1993) worked in various capacities, including executive management, with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), where he is noted for his role in the conversion of the cost-accounting system for federal government agencies, as well as for extending the Office's practitioner-in-residence program and establishing teaching residencies in colleges and universities across the country. He was the first African American inducted into the Beta Alpha Psi accounting fraternity (1937); the first African American to obtain the CPA designation in North Carolina (1941); and, after earning a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1951, the first African American CPA/Ph.D. He served as Vice President of the American Accounting Association, on the faculty of over 20 universities, and authored over 100 articles, 11 in the AAA journal The Accounting Review.

Major J. Lee Nicholson (1863-1924), was an industrial consultant, author and educator at New York University and Columbia University, He is considered in the United States to be the "father of cost accounting." The History of Accounting: An International Encyclopedia, notes that Nicholson was a synthesizer whose “main contribution was to organize, improve, and propagate this new knowledge as it spread from a tiny minority of pioneering firms to the vast majority of manufacturers who still had no formal cost accounting systems at the beginning of the twentieth century."  As one of the earliest American cost accountants to teach the subject at the university level, he helped standardize practice and facilitated the interaction of ideas between academics and practitioners. He helped establish the National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA) in 1919 and was its first president. NACA was the forerunner of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. 

Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, Professor Emeritus of Accounting at the University of Southern California, is recognized as an expert in translating the complexities and jargon of accounting into plain English for general audiences. She has published and spoken extensively on financial reporting and auditing, including such subjects as restatements, materiality, audit litigation, and pricing of audit services. She has received numerous awards including the AAA’s Competitive Manuscript Award, the California Society of CPAs’ Accounting Faculty Fellow Award, and, on two occasions, the Deloitte Foundation Wildman Medal Award. From 2006 to 2008, she served as Deputy Chief Accountant for Professional Practice in the Office of the Chief Accountant at the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Treasury and Risk Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in finance in 2008 for being instrumental in breaking the SEC code on internal-controls regulation by drafting much-needed guidance for companies.

Stephen H. Penman is the George O. May Professor and Chair of the Accounting Division in the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, where he is also co-director of the Center for Excellence in Accounting and Security Analysis, and director of the master’s program in Accounting and Fundamental Analysis. His research examines the valuation of equity and the role of accounting information in security analysis, and a number of his papers focus on accounting policy issues. He has published widely in finance and accounting journals and conducted seminars on accounting and analysis for academic and professional audiences. This work has been recognized with several awards including the AAA/AICPA Notable Contribution to Accounting Literature Award (1991). In 2002, he was awarded the Deloitte Foundation Wildman Medal Award for his book, Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation.

The American Accounting Association is the largest community of accountants in academia. Founded in 1916, it has a rich history built on leading-edge research and publications. The diversity of its membership creates a fertile environment for collaboration and innovation that ensures the association's thought leadership in accounting.

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