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The Accounting Hall of Fame

Nicholas Dopuch

Nicholas DopuchAn internationally known accounting scholar, his vision, energy, and writing have shaped the development of accounting research for four decades. He was born in 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri, where he spent the first 21 years of his life. His father immigrated to the United States as a teenager from Serbia, and neither of his parents completed high school. He was an A student in elementary school but a mediocre one in high school. After graduating from McKinley High School in St. Louis, he tried various jobs and enrolled as a part time student at Washington University. "At that time," he reports, "I never anticipated an academic or professional career. In fact, were it not for the Korean War, I might have stayed with Anheuser Busch because of the various 'fringe benefits' that went with the job." However, he joined the Air Force in the fall of 1950. He served as an electronics counter measures operator on a bomber crew with a primary responsibility of jamming radar signals of enemy tracking stations.

His tour of duty with the Air Force convinced him that education could play an important role in his life, and in January of 1955 he enrolled in Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, which was near his parents' small farm. His father was still working in St. Louis and commuted on weekends, so he and his new wife stayed with his mother. He was an exceptional student at Indiana State where he majored in accounting. When graduation approached, the dean suggested that he go on to graduate school. He applied for fellowships at three Big Ten universities and chose to accept a fellowship from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign beginning in the fall of 1957. It was there that he met, Norton Bedford, his first influential mentor. "Norton's non bounded range of thinking was contagious," he recalled, "and revealed to me the richness of the accounting discipline. His guidance and inspiration started me on the path to this day."

Upon completion of his Ph.D. at Illinois in 1961, he joined the distinguished accounting faculty at the University of Chicago where Sidney Davidson, David Green, Charles Horngren, and George Sorter raised his awareness of accounting research to new levels. Here he worked with many junior colleagues on co authored papers that launched their research careers. The Chicago experience of the 1960s was further enhanced by an extraordinary group of Ph.D. students who themselves went on the distinguished careers.

His ability to work with and inspire junior colleagues on a multitude of significant accounting and auditing research topics is testified to by the fact that he served as a co author with 23 different colleagues. Among them are such distinguished scholars as Jacob Birnberg, Bill Cooper, Joel Demski, Nick Gonedes, Bob Holthausen, Richard Leftwich, Steve Penman, Shyam Sunder, and Ross Watts. Truly a remarkable record and almost certainly one that is unmatched in the accounting literature. All that while publishing several important articles on his own.

In 1968, he became the second editor of the University of Chicago's Journal of Accounting Research, following David Green, and after serving as co editor for one year with Sidney Davidson. He remained editor until 1983 and continued as co editor for 15 additional years. As editor, he guided countless accounting researchers into rigorous empirical and theoretical work and fostered new approaches to accounting and auditing problems. His insistence on excellence, and his willingness to work with aspiring researchers to achieve that level, greatly enhanced the quality of research in accounting and established the JAR as the preeminent accounting research journal.

A prolific writer, his scholarly output includes over 30 published research papers (including three papers to be published next year), 4 books and monographs, and countless discussion papers and speeches. He has twice been awarded the AICPA Outstanding Contribution to Accounting Literature Award, once in 1974 (with Nicholas Gonedes) and again in 1982 (with Shyam Sunder). His recent experimental work (with Ronald King and others) on auditing and managerial accounting issues has established experimental economics as an important method of accounting research.

His professional service includes offices in the American Accounting Association, chairmanships and membership on many of its committees including extensive involvement with the Consortium for Accounting Doctoral Students; it also includes service on the editorial boards of many academic journals. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the AICPA and the Missouri Society of CPAs. In 1981, he received the American Accounting Association's Outstanding Educator Award, and, in 1999, he received the AAA's Outstanding Auditing Educator Award. He was named a distinguished alumnus by the University of Illinois, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Illinois, Indiana University, the University of Melbourne (Australia), and National Technical University (Singapore).

He is Hubert C. and Dorothy R. Moog Professor of Accounting at Washington University and lives in Ladue, Missouri, near St. Louis, with his wife Barbara, who is renowned as a hostess among his colleagues and friends. He is the 68th member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, Nicholas Dopuch.