(OXFORD, Miss.) – Accountancy degrees from the University of Mississippi brought James L. “Jay” Oliphant III and Jason and Amy Shackelford together as colleagues and friends, and now they are joining to help meet the need for faculty support in UM’s Patterson School of Accountancy.
The three Memphis professionals have created the Oliphant-Shackelford Accountancy Alumni Fellows Endowment with a gift to support salary supplements, research and creative activities of faculty. Under the Alumni Fellows program annual income from individual endowments is combined to provide a general pool of faculty support used by the accountancy dean.
“One of the main reasons I have had success in my career is the preparation I received from School of Accountancy professors,” said Oliphant, who oversees business development for Dixon-Hughes Goodman, an accounting and advisory firm. “The Patterson School has a national reputation for excellence. It produces well-rounded graduates because the teaching and curriculum is relevant, thorough and hands-on.
“Faculty members are what make the Patterson School of Accountancy great,” Oliphant continued. “Jason, Amy and I want to see this impact continue. We’ve got to have the best professors mentoring accountancy students.”
Oliphant earned a Bachelor of Accountancy in 1996 and a Master of Accountancy in 1997. Jason Shackelford, who is now Director of Accounting and Corporate Controller for GTx, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1997 and a Master of Accountancy in 1998. Currently working in the Corporate Accounting and Analysis Group at Pfizer, Inc., Amy McIntosh Shackelford earned a Bachelor of Accountancy in 1999 and a Master of Accountancy in 2000. When each graduated from Ole Miss, they joined the accounting firm KPMG.
All three alumni praised the accountancy faculty and specifically noted the teaching and mentoring of Morris Stocks, professor of accountancy and now the UM provost/vice chancellor for academic affairs; Mark Wilder, dean of the Patterson School of Accountancy; and Dave Nichols, associate professor of accountancy.
“Accountancy curriculum is very demanding and competitive, and the professors inspire you to do your best,” said Jason Shackelford. “This endowment is a small token of how much the three of us appreciate and how much affection we feel for the accountancy school. Faculty members take a tremendous interest in students and have always done a great job guiding students both in the classroom and as they begin their professional careers.
“The accountancy professors, students and alumni form a close-knit group, and the professors genuinely care about students and stay in touch and mentor them long after graduation,” he said.
UM has a broad initiative underway to build faculty support for all schools.
“We are very proud of Jay, Jason and Amy, and we appreciate these talented, young alumni stepping forward to establish an endowment for faculty support,” said Dean Wilder. “We applaud their commitment to give back to the accountancy school, and we are grateful for the example they provide for others to follow. Future generations of accountancy students will benefit from the investment they are making in our faculty. I continue to be amazed at the tremendous loyalty and generosity for our alumni and friends.”
Jay Oliphant first brought up the idea of the three coming together to create an endowment and wanted to support faculty after they heard Dean Wilder make reference to losing strong candidates for faculty positions due to salaries.
“We want to help provide funds the school can count on every year, and we encourage other young alumni to do so as well,” Jason Shackelford said.
For more information on the Alumni Fellows program, call Jen McMillan, director of development for the Patterson School of Accountancy, at 662-915-1993 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.