William Louis Campfield

Kenneth Wilson StringerDr. William Louis Campfield was born in 1912 and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, the second of nine children. Having parents that encouraged discipline, as well as academic curiosity in their children, he attended New York University and worked in a bowling alley retrieving and re-racking pins while studying. He graduated in 1933 and returned to teach at the Tuskegee Institute.

Dr. Campfield led a remarkable journey filled with many “firsts”: in 1937, he became the first African American to obtain an MBA from the University of Minnesota, to be inducted into the Beta Alpha Psi accounting honorary fraternity; to obtain the CPA designation in the state of North Carolina in 1941; and to earn a Ph.D. in accountancy at the University of Illinois in 1951, making him the first African American CPA/Ph.D.

Dr. Campfield worked in various capacities, including executive management with the United States Government. He held several positions with the U.S Army Audit Agency before being appointed to the General Accounting Office (GAO), later known as the Government Accountability Office in 2004. He taught at over 20 universities through a practitioner-in-residence program that he helped to create. From 1921-2005, he was the 21st most prolific publisher in The Accounting Review. In 1962, he was awarded the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and in 1972, he was awarded the GAO Meritorious Service Award. He served as Vice President of the AAA in 1971-1972.

In 1981, Dr. Campfield joined the faculty of Florida International University, where he spent five years as a full professor restructuring the programs and teaching graduate courses. He retired in 1986 following a stroke, which prompted a move to New Jersey where he resided with two of his younger sisters. He died in 1993.

William Louis Campfield (1912-1993) is the Ninety-Eighth member of The Accounting Hall of Fame.