Born in Detroit and raised in Chicago, this promising, high-energy student set off for Rice University following high school in 1950, intent on becoming a chemical engineer. After one year, mathematics attracted his interest and he transferred to the University of Michigan which, unlike Rice, had a program in actuarial mathematics. This joint program Michigan=s Department of Mathematics and School of Business led him to enter Michigan's MBA program immediately following graduation. The MBA program gave him an accounting course from Bill Paton and also provided a satisfying exposure to teaching in an introductory statistics course. Following graduation with high distinction from the MBA program, he joined the U. S. Navy where he served in the Navy Intelligence Office from June 1955 to September 1958. Pursuing the interest in teaching kindled by his MBA experience, he returned to the University of Michigan to earn a PhD in business. He completed the degree in just three years under the direction of Paul W. McCracken, who had just returned from membership on President Eisenhower=s Council of Economic Advisers.
In 1961 he accepted a position at the University of California at Berkeley where he was asked to teach intermediate accounting and statistics. The Berkeley accounting faculty, which included Hector Anton, Richard Mattessich, Maurice Moonitz, Robert Sprouse, George Staubus, and Larry Vance stimulated an interest in accounting research. This set him on a path to become one of accounting's most respected scholars and teachers. Inspired in part by the behavioral dissertation work of Bill Bruns, then a doctoral student working under Hector Anton, he undertook a field study that was published in 1964 in the new Journal of Accounting Research. In 1964, he accepted an associate professor position at Cornell University where he was promoted to professor in 1968. In 1977 he was named Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Accounting, a position he held until his retirement in 2006.
His extensive record of scholarly work focuses on empirical studies of financial reporting and related regulatory and market phenomena. In the 1960s he was an early exponent of empirical methods in accounting research and conducted seminal research in the 1970s and 1980s on the impact of accounting disclosures on market prices. It includes authorship or co-authorship of eleven books and monographs and over 60 published articles. He has twice received the AICPA/AAA Notable Contribution to the Literature AwardCfirst in 1966 for his article AOn the Effects of Earnings-Trend, Size and Inventory Valuation Procedures in Evaluating a Business Firm,@ published by the American Accounting Association in Empirical Research in Accounting, and a second time in 1978 for his monograph, Efficient Capital Markets and Accounting: A Critical Analysis (with David Downs and Robert Magee).
A talented and respected teacher, he is know for his lively lectures and his dedication to students by thousands of Cornell alumni. In addition, he set many accounting doctoral students on a path toward successful academic careers including Robert Magee, Abbie Smith and many others. He received Cornell=s Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994 and the American Accounting Association Outstanding Educator Award in 1987.
In addition to research and teaching, his leadership and service contributions to Cornell University and the accounting profession are formidable. He served for ten years as Associate Dean and two years as Acting Dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, both while carrying a normal teaching load. In addition, he served as Cornell=s Vice President for Information Technology (1998-1999) and as a coordinator in Cornell=s Executive Development Program (1970-1996). He was a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Committee from 1984 to 1987 and a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation from 1989 to 1993. He served as Director of Research (1976-1978) and later president of the American Accounting Association (1981-1982). In addition he was involved in the founding of the much acclaimed AAA Doctoral Consortium and participated in it as well as in the AAA Junior Faculty Consortium for 4 and 6 years respectively.
He and his wife, Ann Pletta, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2005. They have four children, all with advanced degrees from Cornell, ten grand children and one great granddaughter due this fall. A dedicated runner with a long and current history of marathons and triathlons, he and Ann live in Ithaca with summer and early fall in Naples, Florida. He is the 84th member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, Thomas Richard Dyckman.