Articles

Long-Time Accounting Professor Terry Engle to Retire After 35 Years

By Keith Morelli

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Congratulations on your retirement!

TAMPA (February 6, 2018) -- After some 35 years of standing in front of classes extolling the wonders of numbers and how they all make sense when properly entered into ledgers, Terry Engle, professor in the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy, is hanging up his green eyeshades and shutting down his adding machine.

The only decision he will have to make come retirement day on March 1 is what to do next.

"I have mixed emotions about this," he said. "I've been here since 1983 and let me tell you, this comes a lot quicker than you think. I'm moving on to the next step in my life. I have no plans, though."

Engle has been a fixture at the University of South Florida for three-and-a-half decades. He started the year Ronald Reagan was talking about trickle-down economics and Michael Jackson was introducing the moonwalk on national television.

"Terry Engle is one of the most passionate and dedicated professors in the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy," said Uday Murthy, director of the school. "His forte is teaching auditing and he is second to none in his mastery of auditing standards. Present and former students often comment that they passed the audit portion of the CPA exam solely because they took the auditing course with Professor Engle."

Since he came aboard a third of a century ago, a lot has changed, but numbers in the ledgers always added up and Engle continued to get in front of accounting students to preach the significance auditing. When he started, he sort of knew he would be here for the long run.

"I am of the generation that is loyal to an organization," he said. "I don't jump from job to job. I was dedicated to what then was a department and now is a school of accountancy.

"I've been loyal to this place for 35 years."

Engle teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses that include independent auditing and internal and operational auditing. In the 2003-04 and the 2012-13 school years, he received the School of Accountancy's Outstanding Teacher Award.

Semester after semester, he continued teaching generations of future accountants and he tries to keep in touch with as many of his former students as he can.

"It's a treat for me," he said, "to have a student come up to me and say, 'You taught my mom and dad.'"

Don Wengler, now an assistant professor of accounting with the University of Central Missouri, earned a doctorate from USF. Engle served as Wengler's PhD teaching mentor in 2013.

"Dr. Engle is the consummate traditional lecturer," Wengler said, "a master of his pulpit."

Engle's passion for the discipline came out once during a presentation on campus led by the chief auditor and director of professional standards at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

"Dr. Engle challenged the chief auditor's statement that today's students and firms do not understand internal controls," Wengler said. "Dr. Engle countered that his students understood internal controls, but that the firms in the profession lack the economic incentives to sufficiently audit internal controls.

"Dr. Engle was not afraid of conflict and debate in the furtherance of ideals, auditing or otherwise," Wengler added. "I think of him today as I am now teaching the same course at another university. Thank you, Dr. Engle."

Over Engle's long teaching career, one academic leader at USF left an impression. He recalled Bob West, the chair of what was then the unnamed accounting department in the unnamed college of business.

"Bob West was a visionary," Engle said. "He realized that a high CPA exam-pass rate and having close ties to the professional accounting community and nurturing the esprit de corps among the faculty and students here was the key to success. And he accomplished all of that. In my opinion, he really is the 'father' of the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy."

USF was a different place back in the early 1980s, Engle said. It pretty much was a few buildings amid acres and acres of pasture.

"One of the best things I've seen here at the university was seeing the school of accounting and the college of business and the university itself transform from a commuter college to a beautiful academic facility," he said. He credited Betty Castor, USF president from 1994-99, with making that happen.

"She changed it into a place where people want to hang out," Engle said. "Just walk from here to student services. It's beautiful."

Engle's contributions to his field are voluminous. His research has been published in prestigious journals such as The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Auditing and Finance, The CPA Journal, Internal Auditor, Journal of Accountancy, and Issues in Accounting Education, among others. He also has been a frequent presenter at American Accounting Association conferences.

Besides teaching, he has served in a leadership capacity with a large number of USF committees. He was a manuscript reviewer for some prestigious accounting journals and served on the Florida State Board of Accountancy Independence Task Force. He also was co-chair of the Academic Relations Committee of the Florida West Coast Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Engle received a doctorate of accountancy from the University of Missouri and bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from Illinois State University. He's a Florida CPA.

In 1987, he was granted tenure at USF and in 2009, he and Murthy were the recipients of the USF Accountancy Research Award.

"If there is something about external or internal auditing that Terry Engle does not know, it is not worth knowing," Murthy said. "Although his courses are very rigorous and he is a tough grader, students flock to his classes because they know they will learn everything there is to know about auditing.

"Simply put, Terry Engle is a master auditing professor who will be difficult if not impossible to replace.  He will be sorely missed."

Celina Jozsi, a former colleague of Engle, said he best can be described as the "voice of quality and accountability." Engle, she said, "meticulously updates his lectures, integrating the most current promulgated auditing standards without the use of publishers' teaching aids such as slides, instructor notes or test banks. His exams are completely his own. He is unwavering in his passion for excellence of the accounting program at USF and for CPA exam success.

"Such dedication and focus has earned for Terry Engle the respect of thousands of students, colleagues and CPAs in the Tampa Bay area," she said. "Since he does not compromise in his ethics and standards, he is known for articulate persuasive discussions about every aspect of faculty performance: teaching, research, and service."

Jozsi said she counts Engle as one of her closest friends.

"Since my retirement from USF, I miss the afternoon coffee breaks in the library with Terry, wherein the challenges of delivering quality teaching and content to students were discussed and debated with vigor," she said. "Hopefully, Terry can find the same satisfaction in his retirement touching lives and making a difference."

Engle's future out of academia is a bit foggy these days; he's currently has no plans for his post-USF life. He may teach a course here or there, once in a while, he said, maybe.

"I guess I'll just have to see how retirement treats me."