$1 million gift from EY supports diversity recruitment, retention

This story, written by Ed Morales, was originally published on Terry News on Aug. 26, 2021.

The Terry College of Business received a $1 million gift from EY that will expand efforts to enhance student diversity through recruitment, professional development and mentorships.

The gift from EY — a global leader in assurance, consulting, strategy and transactions, and tax services — also will establish the Dennis R. Beresford Professorship of Accounting, in honor of the longtime EY partner and former member of the J.M. Tull School of Accounting faculty.

The gift will fund diversity and inclusion initiatives to increase Terry’s outreach to high school students and also offer pre-business students earlier access to professional development, mentorship opportunities and corporate site visits. The Terry Diversity Fellows Program sponsored by EY will be facilitated by a newly created position in student services to be filled by the college.

“Through these initiatives, we can foster greater diversity and representation in our enrollment and do an even better job of exposing students to potential careers and setting them up for success,” said Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College of Business. “This generous gift from EY will advance academic achievement for our students and expand opportunities in accounting, consulting and advisory services.”

The Terry Diversity Fellows Program grew out of formal and informal dialogue current students shared with faculty and administrators in programs held last summer and fall about ways the college could be more welcoming and helpful to underrepresented groups. The decision to create a new staff position jointly working with the Diversity Relations Office and Undergraduate Student Services came from those conversations, and the position will be a key contact and resource to engage pre-business and undecided students.

“One of our shared values with Terry is supporting the next generation of the workforce, especially those who are from underserved communities,” said EY Audit Partner Carter Posner. “The global health crisis put a spotlight on these disparities, and we aim to bridge the divide through mentoring, charitable grants and working with the private and public sectors.”

The programs seek to address entrenched challenges by building a pipeline of professionals from underrepresented backgrounds that will impact the landscape of boardrooms and executive suites for generations to come.

In addition, the gift will create an endowed professorship honoring Dennis R. Beresford, who served on the Tull School faculty from 1997 to 2013 and has served as an Executive-in-Residence since retiring in 2013. Before that, Beresford was chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board for 10 years and the national director of accounting standards for EY, having spent 26 years with the firm. The professorship provides funding for the faculty recipient to develop courses, strengthen teaching and research, and perform other professional activities investing in the lives of students and future leaders of the accounting profession.