ACCOUNTING FIRM GIVES $1 MILLION

Gift establishes Dixon Hughes Goodman Accountancy Program

By BILL STUDENC MPA ’10

Western Carolina University has renamed the accountancy program in its College of Business as the Dixon Hughes Goodman Accountancy Program in recognition of gifts and pledges totaling $1 million from several WCU alumni who are partners in one of the top 20 public accounting firms in the U.S.

The gifts, announced last December, are an external demonstration of Dixon Hughes Goodman’s gratitude for what its partners called WCU’s longstanding commitment to educate and develop business leaders, especially in the accounting profession, and in recognition of the impact that the university has made in the Carolinas and beyond, said Ken Hughes ’74, DHG chairman. “As an alumnus of WCU’s accountancy program, I am proud that we are able to give back in a significant way,” said Hughes. “WCU’s legacy of developing accounting and business leaders is greatly important to me, as many of our partners, employees and clients are graduates of the program. I hope that DHG’s gift will help ensure the perpetuation of qualified professionals in the accountancy profession for many years to come.”

Dixon Hughes

Darius Ramsey ’16, Brooke Talley ’16 and Keegan Henry ’15 (from left) are among the students in the program benefiting from the gift presented by Ken Hughes ’74.

The contributions will enable the College of Business to support student success through a variety of initiatives including professional study grants to assist students with expenses associated with internship experiences, international study support to assist students participating in an academic experience abroad, support for students to participate in academic competitions and research, professional development programs, summer study grants, and fellowships and scholarships, said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher.

“Western Carolina University is in the business of changing lives, and with the financial support of friends like those at Dixon Hughes Goodman, with their passion, energy, advocacy and commitment, we are able to change even more lives – and change those lives by an even greater degree,” Belcher said. “Ultimately, our mission is to teach, to support and to inspire our students to greatness. Our success is manifest in the success that our graduates achieve – graduates like Ken Hughes and other members of the Dixon Hughes Goodman family who have made this significant financial commitment to our university.”

Hillary Fearrington ’14, a WCU graduate student working on her master’s degree in accountancy, credited her internship with Dixon Hughes Goodman with helping provide her with the experience and skills she will need in her professional career. “I was able to incorporate the basic skills and knowledge I learned in my undergraduate classes and build on those to become more proficient in the fields of audit and tax,” said Fearrington. “I was not always given easy, basic work to complete but DHG challenged my knowledge by having me apply what I learned to the real world. I continue to be grateful for the experiences DHG has offered me in the public accounting field and cannot wait to begin my career with them in the coming year.”