Charlotte, N.C., December 11, 2015 – Western Carolina University is renaming the accountancy program in its College of Business as the Dixon Hughes Goodman Accountancy Program in recognition of gifts and pledges totaling $1 million from WCU alumni who are partners with the U.S. top 20 public accounting firm.
Announcement of the $1 million contribution came Friday, Dec. 11, in Asheville at WCU’s Programs at Biltmore Park instructional site.
The gift was made as an external demonstration of Dixon Hughes Goodman’s gratitude for what its partners called WCU's longstanding commitment to educate and develop business leaders, especially in the accounting profession, and in recognition of the impact that the university has made in the Carolinas and beyond, said Ken Hughes, DHG chairman.
“As an alumnus of WCU’s accountancy program, I am proud that we are able to give back in a significant way,” said Hughes, a 1974 graduate of the university. “WCU’s legacy of developing accounting and business leaders is greatly important to me, as many of our partners, employees and clients are graduates of the program. I hope that DHG’s gift will help ensure the perpetuation of qualified professionals in the accountancy profession for many years to come.”
The contributions will enable the College of Business to support student success through a variety of initiatives including professional study grants to assist students with expenses associated with internship experiences, international study support to assist students participating in an academic experience abroad, support for students to participate in academic competitions and research, professional development programs, summer study grants, and fellowships and scholarships, said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher.
“Western Carolina University is in the business of changing lives, and with the financial support of friends like those at Dixon Hughes Goodman, with their passion, energy, advocacy and commitment, we are able to change even more lives – and change those lives by an even greater degree,” Belcher said. “Ultimately, our mission is to teach, to support and to inspire our students to greatness. Our success is manifest in the success that our graduates achieve – graduates like Ken Hughes and other members of the Dixon Hughes Goodman family who have made this significant financial commitment to our university.”
Darrell Parker, dean of WCU’s College of Business, called Dixon Hughes Goodman one of the university’s strongest partners and thanked the firm for its ongoing support of the college.
“We need to increase the number of accounting majors at WCU to serve the growing needs of our region,” Parker said. “DHG is a leader in providing private financial support that is critical for student success at WCU. Private donations provide the margin for excellence in our program.”
Hillary Fearrington, a WCU graduate student working on her master’s degree in accountancy, credited her internship with Dixon Hughes Goodman last spring with helping provide her with the experience and skills she will need in her professional career.
“I was able to incorporate the basic skills and knowledge I learned in my undergraduate classes and build on those to become more proficient in the fields of audit and tax,” said Fearrington, who earned her undergraduate degree at WCU in 2014 and who already has a job offer from DHG. “I was not always given easy, basic work to complete but DHG challenged my knowledge by having me apply what I learned to the real world. I continue to be grateful for the experiences DHG has offered me in the public accounting field and cannot wait to begin my career with them in the coming year.”
About Dixon Hughes Goodman
With more than 1,800 people in 12 states, Dixon Hughes Goodman ranks among the nation’s top 20 public accounting firms. Offering comprehensive assurance, tax and advisory services, the firm focuses on major industry lines and serves clients in all 50 states as well as internationally. Visit www.dhg.com for additional information.
About Western Carolina University
With an enrollment of more than 10,300 students, Western Carolina University is a regional comprehensive institution offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The westernmost campus of the University of North Carolina system, WCU offers academic programs on its main campus in Cullowhee and at its off-campus instructional site at Biltmore Park in Asheville.