Fleshers Supports New Home Accounting

OXFORD, Mississippi — Tonya and Dale Flesher have each dedicated 45-year careers to the University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy and are now supporting the construction of the school’s new home.

Award-winning researchers and teachers committed $300,000 to the renowned program they helped establish. The executive boardroom in the 100,000 square foot building at the corner of University Avenue and Grove Loop will be named in honor of the Fleshers, both of whom were inducted into the school’s 2020 Hall of Fame.

Tonya Flesher, former dean of the school, believes the new headquarters of the Patterson School of Accountancy is an important milestone in its history.

Tonya (left) and Dale Flesher have each spent 45 years at university and at the Patterson School of Accountancy. They made a major contribution to the construction of a new house for the school. Photo submitted

“This prime location will highlight the importance the school has acquired and highlight its distinct status,” she said.

“The University of Mississippi has been our foundation in the world of academic research and teaching,” said Dale Flesher, Roland and Sheryl Burns Chair in Accounting. “Ole Miss and the School of Accountancy have been our lives, and now we are able to give back.

“The university hired us, which later resulted in Tonya becoming the first female dean of studies in the university’s 140-year history. Being able to share my career with Tonya has been a highlight in my personal life.

Dale Flesher is the author of 52 books in 98 editions and over 400 articles for some 100 professional journals worldwide. Among his many awards and professional memberships, the American Institute of CPAs honored him in 2011 with its Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award – an honor which Tonya Flesher also received in 2020, making Ole Miss one of four only schools in the country to have multiple winners.

The university awarded him its highest research award, the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, in 2011 and the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award in 1987.

Dale Flesher received the 2017 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award as top faculty member. Never had an accounting professor from any university won the award, nor anyone from any other business discipline.

The American Accounting Association named him an Outstanding Educator in the Southeast Region. He was also international president of the Academy of Accounting Historians.

Tonya Flesher is Emeritus Professor of Accounting and Arthur Andersen Lecturer. She received the college-wide Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award in 2003 and the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award in 1986. Among other honors, the AICPA presented her with the Sustained Contribution Award in 2012.

She is the author of eight books and over 100 articles. For more than 25 years, she was the editor of two tax textbooks, one of which was the most widely used tax text in the country.

Giving back to her profession, Tonya Flesher served as International President of the Academy of Accounting Historians and served as a member of several national organizations.

“Working with students, faculty, staff and alumni has made my job the best imaginable,” she said. “In recognition of a long and satisfying career, I want to repay what was given to me.”

Dean of Accounting Mark Wilder praised the Fleshers for their gift and their many contributions to the school.

“The Fleshers are part of the school’s longstanding tradition of nurturing relationships with students and alumni, and their donation will expand their legacy,” he said. “We so appreciate their generous donation and look forward to honoring them by naming this important area.

“Tonya and Dale Flesher have dedicated their lives to college and the Patterson School of Accountancy. For more than four decades, Tonya and Dale have had a positive impact on thousands of Ole Miss accounting students and alumni. They each played a key role in the many successes that the Patterson School enjoys today.

The school is a powerhouse, ranked No. 8 in the nation and No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference, marking the 10th straight year in the top 10 rankings. In 2021, the school awarded a record 588 degrees, including 253 master’s degrees.

The new home for the Patterson School of Accountancy is set to be built at the corner of Grove Loop and University Avenue on the Ole Miss campus.

Over the past three years, the school has received eight winners of the Elijah Watts Sells Award, the world’s most prestigious CPA exam honor. In the 2020-22 period, this ranks Ole Miss easily No. 1 in the SEC in number of Sells Award recipients and tied for fourth nationally.

Growing student numbers are driving plans for the new university house with a cost of over $70 million. The four-story facility will include multi-level auditoriums and classrooms, study areas, lecture halls, administrative and faculty offices, and outdoor balconies and terraces.

The Fleshers noted that a new building was badly needed.

“We’ve long since passed Conner Hall,” said Dale Flesher. “For example, I taught in at least 17 different buildings on the Ole Miss campus, simply because there wasn’t enough space for all the accounting classes at Conner Hall.”

The Fleshers credit the school’s success to its respected faculty – many of whom have won multiple teaching awards – and successful graduates, its status as a stand-alone accounting program, and the most comprehensive accounting library in the world. .

“The Ole Miss School of Accounting has provided Mississippi and the nation with leaders in almost every field,” said Dale Flesher. “Graduates have become leaders in international accounting firms, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, heads of government and nonprofit agencies, and small business owners in Mid-South cities.”

Equally significant was the separation of the School of Accountancy from the School of Business Administration in 1979, as recommended by the AICPA.

“This independence has allowed the school to be more closely aligned with the accounting profession, raise more funds, hire quality faculty and develop an enriched curriculum,” said Tonya Flesher. “It has meant so much to witness the growth in reputation and prestige of the Patterson School.”

The next significant event came in 2001 when the AICPA donated its 129,000-volume library to the university and named it the home of the National Library for the Accounting Profession.

“We already had a large accounting library, but the additional volumes made us the largest accounting library in the world – almost three times larger than the second largest library,” said Dale Flesher.

The Fleshers’ support will go to Now & Ever: The Campaign for Ole Miss, a fundraising initiative to secure $1.5 billion in private donations to strengthen the university for generations to come. Their legacy of private support began in 1982, and they have donated to a multitude of areas on campus, including major funding for the Tonya and Dale Flesher Scholarship Endowment in Accountancy.

For more information about supporting the new School of Accountancy headquarters, contact Jason McCormick, Director of Development, at [email protected] or 662-915-1757.

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