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USF to Name its School of Accountancy to Honor Long-time Donor

Recognizing gifts totaling more than $22.5 million, the school will now be known at the USF Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy

Lynn Pippenger View Event Handout

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2015) – The University of South Florida announces that its School of Accountancy will be named for Lynn Pippenger, a long-time donor and supporter. The change was made official the morning of Feb. 17 by a vote of the USF Board of Trustees. The Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy naming recognizes a new gift of $10 million from the retired Raymond James executive, whose total giving to the USF Muma College of Business exceeds $21 million.

This announced gift is part of the $1 billion USF: Unstoppable Campaign. Including a prior gift of $1 million to USF Health, Pippenger's overall contributions to the USF System are more than $22.5 million.

The retired accountant and financial services executive's first gift to USF was in 1986. This latest generous gift isn't the end of her support -- she fully intends to continue to support USF and the school that helped her as she built her career.

"It has been something I have thought about for more than 20 years," Pippenger said. "I just finally decided to speak up."

"We are honored and humbled that Ms. Pippenger has chosen to invest so significantly in the accounting program at USF," said Uday Murthy, director of the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy. "On behalf of our faculty, staff, and students, I commit to doing everything we can to make the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy at USF one of the best in the nation. We are proud to be entrusted with her vision for the future."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, representing an additional 190,700 jobs. Pippenger's gift will help USF address the projected shortfall and prepare more students to take the examinations to become Certified Public Accountants or to earn additional accounting credentials such as Certified Internal Auditor or Certified Management Auditor. Additional scholarships will be available for accounting majors and will provide stipends for students who participate in internships. The gift will also support the school's infrastructure.

"It is a win-win-win," said Moez Limayem, dean of the USF Muma College of Business. "Our students win because we are able to provide more scholarships and an even better academic experience. The college wins because we are able to create innovative programs that will attract top students and faculty. And employers win because we provide a steady pipeline of top talent to the future workforce."

Giving – and accounting – is in Pippenger's blood.

"When I was 4 or 5 years old and given a small allowance, I was taught that I always had to give back some of it to church and charities, I had to save some of it, and I could spend some of it," she said. "I still do that same thing today."

She comes from a long line of accountants. Her ancestors include accountants, bookkeepers, town treasurers, the treasurer of a railroad freight company, and the first auditor, county clerk, and justice of the peace for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, a then-rural area now known as Cleveland.

Pippenger's career in accounting began long before she was a graduate of USF in 1988. As a teenager, she shadowed a neighbor who taught her about double-entry accounting, debits, and credits. That neighbor also taught her how to use an adding machine and would let her double-check his work. Another neighbor, a stockbroker, taught her about investments.

"The stockbroker had me following a couple of stocks in the newspaper, one of which became my first actual investment, and I still own the stock," she said. Neither neighbor realized that their time and attention would help make her a trailblazer in an industry that, at the time, rarely included women in leadership positions.

She started working at Raymond James in 1969, hired as a payroll clerk in the then-unknown brokerage firm. Pippenger says that job quickly evolved to become a "whatever comes my way" job, and she worked alongside Bob James, Tom James and several other men to help build the company. While she eventually served as chief financial officer and treasurer of the firm, Pippenger handled numerous special projects as the company grew. She created the firm's Human Resources Department and launched an internal educational program now known as "Raymond James University." She formed the company's information technology department and was the architect for much of company's original technological framework – much of which is still in use today. She helped file the paperwork to take the company public.

Today, the diversified financial services holding company and its three broker/dealer subsidiaries employ more than 6,200 financial advisors serving about 2.6 million accounts in 2,600 locations worldwide. Its total client assets are approximately $483 billion.

When she retired three years ago, she had long occupied a seat at Raymond James' executive table, leaving the company as senior vice president. Now, she's working to ensure that USF business students get the education that could further their own career growth.

"I am honored to be associated with the USF Muma College of Business and its accounting program," she said. "I am excited that, by giving now, I will have time to see the results of this gift. I look forward to seeing what the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy will accomplish."

USF's accountancy programs prepare students for private or public accounting, auditing, taxation, accounting information systems, and consulting. The undergraduate and graduate programs in accountancy have both been ranked in the top 50, and accounting faculty are some of the leading researchers in fields such as auditing, tax, accounting and accounting information systems. The USF chapter of accounting honor society Beta Alpha Psi has been consistently recognized for excellence at a national level: it has earned the superior designation from its international organization for nearly 40 years and is one of only two schools to have received the KPMG Gold Award from Beta Alpha Psi for five years running.