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Albuquerque CPA firm Moss Adams pledges $50,000 for NMSU accounting chair

The effort to honor an admired New Mexico State University accounting professor with an endowed chair in his name has received another pledge of support.

Posed group photo at Moss Adams office in Albuquerque
New Mexico State University Accounting Department Head Kevin Melendrez, center, NMSU President Garrey Carruthers and accounting faculty member Cindy Seipel pose with the team at Moss Adams, an Albuquerque accounting firm that has pledged a $50,000 contribution to the Lionel Haight Accounting Professorship at NMSU, with the goal of turning the professorship into a $1 million endowed chair. (Courtesy photo)

Albuquerque accounting firm Moss Adams has confirmed plans to contribute $50,000 over the next five years to the Lionel Haight Accounting Professorship to help reach the goal of turning the professorship into a $1 million endowed chair.

The professorship in honor of Haight, a former NMSU professor and head of the accounting department, who died in 1998, was established in 2010 with a $250,000 contribution from one of Haight's former students, Judy Gray Johnson, and her husband, Michael. Judy Johnson attended NMSU from 1969 to 1972, majoring in accounting, and found Haight to be a demanding but supportive teacher who had a significant impact on students.

Johnson pledged an additional $100,000 in the fall of 2011 to match contributions to the accounting professorship, with a goal of establishing a $1 million, fully endowed chair. The first $100,000 goal has been met, prompting a second $100,000 pledge from Johnson, and the fundraising campaign is more than halfway to the million dollar goal for establishing the chair.

Brandon Fryar, an NMSU College of Business alumnus and partner at Moss Adams, said his firm seeks out superior accounting talent - something they've consistently found at NMSU. He said the well-rounded graduates that Moss Adams has come to expect from NMSU's accounting program are a direct reflection of the quality of the faculty and their level of involvement in student success.

"We do feel we get some of the best and brightest from NMSU and it is great to give back to an institution that has done so much for us as individuals and as a firm," Fryar said. "What has always impressed me most is that the faculty know the students and are vested in the students - they make it their mission to prepare them for successful professional careers."

He said the firm sees the $50,000 commitment as a way to give back to a program that has produced several Moss Adams partners and staff members.

"With this gift, we would also like to acknowledge and thank the faculty of NMSU, who continue to inspire us with their personal dedication to the success of students and the quality of the Master's of Accountancy program."

Accounting Department Head Kevin Melendrez said Moss Adams has been an important partner for the department. Fryar and others at the firm also work closely with the Beta Alpha Psi student organization.

"Moss Adams has been a longtime supporter of the NMSU accounting programs and our students," Melendrez said. "The firm consistently recruits our students and remains a top choice for our best accounting graduates."

Interim Dean Kathy Brook said the endowed chair - which will be the sixth in the College of Business - would enhance the school's ability to attract and retain faculty members who will continue a tradition of providing a high standard of academic excellence and a nurturing and supportive learning environment.

For more information on the Johnsons' second $100,000 challenge, contact Andrea Tawney at 575-646-4917 or atawney@nmsu.edu. To make a secure online gift directly to this endowment, visit http://giving.nmsu.edu/haight.html.