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New Business Professorship Launches Urban
Accounting Initiative

The Point

Fall 2011


Longtime University benefactors George and Kathleen White have established the George Rowland White Endowed Professor of Accounting and Finance at Point Park University's School of Business with a $1 million bequest through their estate plan.

With this bequest, together with prior cumulative gifts from the couple, the Whites become the second largest benefactors in the history of the University. George White has been a member of the Board of Trustees at Point Park since 1995.

The new professor will lead a new Urban Accounting Initiative to encourage education and careers in accounting and finance, particularly among young minority students.

"I absolutely believe in Point Park University," said George White. "We want to help the University meet current challenges while preparing for the future."

An Eye for Business and the Arts

The Whites, who are committed to the economic and cultural vitality of the city and the campus, have previously provided support for such projects as the George Rowland White Performance Studio in the Dance Complex on the Boulevard of the Allies and the GRW Theater in the University Center.

"I believe it is mandatory for Point Park to develop a first-class business school," said White, a former Xerox executive who has a Ph.D. in nuclear physics and served on the faculty of the Harvard School of Business. "It will also add to the vitality of Downtown Pittsburgh and the business community."

He and his wife Kathleen, who earned a math and science degree at Purdue University, became Downtown residents when White was recruited to lead what is now the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Facility in Harmar Township, Pa. "We fell in love with Pittsburgh," said White, "and we have lived at the Point ever since."

White became involved at Point Park as an adjunct professor and has fond memories of teaching several business courses on campus. "It is in getting to know the students of Point Park that you truly appreciate the unique character of this University," he said.

A Wise Investment Strategy

"George and Kathy have been remarkable benefactors and supporters of the School of Business," said Dean Angela Isaac. "I have valued George's time, energy and intellect as we've been shaping the growth and potential of the School.

"George is so very bright and he thinks in multiple dimensions," Isaac said. "He knows the Pittsburgh business community well, and he is so unabashedly in love with this city, that his passion and enthusiasm - in combination with his extraordinary generosity - have make it possible for us to have a faculty member dedicated to advancing the practice of finance and accounting in Pittsburgh, particularly among young minority students."

One of the first projects in the new Urban Accounting Initiative will be a University collaboration with Manchester Academic Charter School in which middle school-age students will explore the fields of accounting and finance. The program will be led by educator and civic leader Herman L. Reid Jr., who served for three decades as the executive director of the Negro Educational Emergency Fund (NEED) in Pittsburgh.

There has been declining enrollment and interest among minorities in finance and accounting as a profession over the past decade, according to Isaac. Yet the U.S. Bureau of Labor has identified accounting as one of the fastest growing professions, largely due to industry and regulatory concerns over financial accuracy, transparency and reliability.

"The new professorship will also contribute to the advancement of the School of Business as a thought leader and catalyst for debate in our community," said Isaac. "Through active engagement of business and community leaders, our goal is to address emerging business needs in these key disciplines as well as identify opportunities for transformational business practices."

White said he also hopes the bequest will encourage other friends and alumni to consider supporting the University's long-term growth through estate planning (learn more about the Founders Society on page 32). "Point Park's Academic Village initiative is a profoundly wise investment," he said.

"My hope is that others will be inspired to make bequests and similar types of planned gifts. We would like to set a precedent."

Text by Cheryl Valyo

Photo by Richard Kelly

The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University