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Workshop for Accounting Majors at the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy Draws a Special Guest: Lynn Pippenger

By Keith Morelli

Pippenger attending workshop

TAMPA (Feb. 18, 2017) -- The Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy in the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business celebrated a notable anniversary on Friday: It was two years ago to the day that Lynn Pippenger's name went up on the wall, thanks to a $10 million naming gift. On Friday afternoon, she was the guest of honor at a series of certification workshops for accounting students.

The event, coordinated by the Accounting Circle at USF, was held in the multipurpose room and the theme of the anniversary get-together was the importance of achieving professional certifications. Several professionals were there to offer information about what types of certifications are available and where, and what those designations can do to boost a career or make a graduate more marketable in the workplace.

Pippenger, who took a seat along the back wall and listened to all the presentations along with students, faculty and staff, said the shine of her name on the wall hasn't worn off after two years.

"No," she said. "I don't think it ever will."

She comes back to USF's Muma College of Business three or four times a year and loves to chat with business students, particularly accounting majors.

"It's always fun to meet with students," she said. She came into the multipurpose room as the 50 or so students sat, and took a chair and raised her hand when she was recognized by Uday Murthy, director of the accounting school.

A long-time donor and supporter, Pippenger's gift of $10 million to name the Tampa campus school was part of a $1 billion USF: Unstoppable Campaign. Including a prior gift of $1 million to USF Health, Pippenger's overall contributions to the USF System now total about $30 million.

The retired accountant and financial services executive's first gift to USF was in 1986. And this donation wasn't the end of her generosity She has made numerous gifts since then, including $5 million she donated to the USF St. Petersburg campus last year, resulting in the dedication of the Lynn Pippenger Hall in the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. Pippenger has said she fully intends to continue to support USF and the school that helped her start her career.

And her donations couldn't have come at a better time.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics say that employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 11 percent by 2024, representing an additional 142,400 jobs. Pippenger's gift has helped USF address the projected shortfall. It has and will continue to prepare more students to take the examinations to become Certified Public Accountants and to earn additional accounting credentials such as Certified Internal Auditor or Certified Management Auditor.

The donation provided additional scholarships for accounting majors and continued to provide stipends for students who participate in internships. This year, said Reggie Shouse, student success advisor, there is some $30,000 available for students taking certification exams, money that is part of Pippenger's gift. He urged students to take advantage of the available money to study for and take the certification exams.

"Ms. Pippenger donated money," he said to the attendees, "to help you attain your career goals."

Pippenger comes from a long line of 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, then-rural area now known as Cleveland.

Her 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.

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 into a "whatever comes my way" position. She eventually served as chief financial officer and treasurer of the firm.

As the company grew, she had a hand in launching an internal educational program now known as Raymond James University, and the company's information technology department. She was the architect for the company's original technological framework – much of which is still in use today. She also helped file the paperwork to take the company public.

It is her support that help the accounting program at the Muma College of Business maintain its commitment to excellence.

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 accountancy schools to have received the KPMG Gold Award from Beta Alpha Psi for eight years running.

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 been ranked in the top 50 in the nation and the accounting faculty are some of the leading researchers in fields such as auditing, tax, accounting and accounting information systems.