News from the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy
Dean Sharon Oswald to Retire
After twelve years at the College of Business’ helm, Dean Sharon Oswald will retire this June. She has been a true friend and supporter of the Adkerson School of Accountancy throughout those years.
Under Oswald’s enduring leadership – only one other dean has served the COB as long – the College overall has seen tremendous expansion and achievement.
“We have grown 60 percent since I started in 2011,” she remarks. “We no longer are a small college of business.”
Many changes have taken place to attract more students to MSU Business. During Oswald’s tenure, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach, Strategic Finance Laboratory and Market Innovation Laboratory and Observatory were opened; the state’s only Supply Chain Logistics major was established; a partnership with Industrial and Systems Engineering introduced a dual major resulting in dual degrees; two concentrations were developed under MSU’s new BS in Data Science, as well as an ethical leadership certificate program for all COB undergraduates; an online BBA was added; three re-accreditations were achieved; a centennial anniversary was celebrated, and various outreach programs were initiated for veterans and small and family businesses.
In accounting, online graduate programs were added, and the Whitmire Accelerating Students into the Accounting Profession (ASAP) Camp was developed.
Oswald sees the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy as a beacon of distinction for the College and the University.
“Having a named school of accountancy brings a great deal of prestige to the program,” she states. “We’re fortunate Mr. Adkerson chose to do that in 2007. It shows to students and to professionals we’re serious about accounting education.”
Alumni support is a particular strength of the School, she adds. She points to the state of the art classroom built for the online MPA and MTX programs, largely through the support of Adkerson, that exudes professionalism and reflects the programs’ quality. She also notes that the ASAP Camp, endowed by Don and Peggy Whitmire, has helped outstanding high school students learn about the profession and draw them to the School. Many more ASAC alumni are engaged through contributions, classroom visits, recruiting and advisory councils.
“I’ve found that accounting alumni are unlike any other. They’re a close-knit group who are devoted to their profession and devoted to their school,” says Oswald. “Our alumni really want to see our students excel, and they’re very interested in their well-being.”
Don Whitmire responds, “Dean Oswald has been an outstanding leader of the College of Business in her time at Mississippi State, and I and others of us from the Adkerson School of Accountancy have greatly appreciated our collaboration with her in attracting new students and giving them the best opportunities for professional success. We will all miss our regular contact with Sharon very much but wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement.”
Oswald also has a deeply-held respect for the expertise and commitment of the ASAC faculty and staff.
“What I really love is their camaraderie – they’re like a family, tailgating and doing other things together,” she observes. “The faculty is great, and Shawn Mauldin has done an amazing job as Director. I also have to mention Frances McNair, who did a phenomenal job as Interim Director before him, keeping the program in good shape between directors.
“The program today is at its strongest point since I’ve been here,” she extols.
“Sharon has been very supportive in helping me carry out the School of Accountancy’s mission,” states Mauldin. “Her leadership style has been not to micromanage but to partner with the academic units on initiatives they were trying to achieve. I’ve enjoyed working with Sharon to move the College of Business and School of Accountancy to the next level of excellence.”
Retirement will bring time for travel, tennis, painting and her much-loved pooches Czesky, Cocoa and Tucker. The occasional teaching opportunity may prove hard to resist as well. As she looks to her next pursuits, it is with profound appreciation and affection that we offer our thanks to Dean Sharon Oswald and wish her well.