Another Side of Bill Smith
This letter is about your “Faculty Spotlight” on Professor Bill Smith (Fall 2005).
I had Mr. Smith as an accounting teacher in 1961. I remember you had to come prepared and pay attention to keep up with Professor Smith as he tried to instill in us the lessons of “LIFO” and “FIFO.” He’s right when he says he is a “damn good teacher.”
There’s another side to Bill Smith that deserves to be mentioned. A close friend of mine who was an accounting major at X.U. passed away in the middle of the 1990s, some 30 years after graduating. I don’t think Mr. Smith had any contact with him after he left college, but somehow he had followed his career and wrote his family a letter of sympathy. He told them how he was as a student—early for class, prepared and hard working—and that he could tell this young man would be a success in life. This letter is special to them, a tribute to their father from someone they never met.
So, thanks, Mr. Smith, for your many years of teaching, and exceptional memory and, more than anything, thanks for your kindness and compassion.
Tom Brennan, Class of 1965
More Praise for Bill Smith
I’d like to add a comment to your article on Bill Smith, a truly great accounting professor. In my senior year, as luck would have it, I was in his Principles of Accounting class along with both of my brothers, who were two years behind me. Bill would return graded tests in numerical order—passing out the highest, down to the lowest. It turned out that my brothers and I all had the exact same score on the test (truly a fluke) and none of us had even come close to passing the test. (OK, so we’re not CPAs.) It was rather embarassing, but Bill never skipped a beat…just said, “You guys shouldn’t study together and NEVER do your own taxes.” It was a good comic moment that deflected the embarassment we all felt.
In 1996, I ran into him at my 25-year reunion. He asked, with a twinkle in his eye, how the “family accounting firm” was faring. I was amazed that he remembered. Not many profs would have that kind of memory for three obscure students, but that was Bill. Good job on the article.
John McTigue, Class of 1971