Amy Murphy has been described as “the face of the Master of Accountancy program, if not the School of Accountancy.” She has recruited, advised, taught, and mentored Auburn accountancy students since 1994.
Many of them thanked her by contributing to the newly created Amy B. Murphy Accounting Excellence Endowment, which will lead to the creation of an endowed faculty chair position in the School of Accountancy. The idea started with former School of Accountancy Director DeWayne Searcy and took shape without Murphy’s knowledge. Searcy revealed the surprise to Murphy at a December 2015 holiday party.
Former students, School of Accountancy advisory board members, faculty, and some of Murphy’s former Ernst & Young colleagues pledged $500,000 for the fund. More than 60 percent of the contributors were Master of Accountancy program alumni.
Murphy uses her own Auburn story to inspire students who may have doubts about whether they can succeed in a demanding academic program. She earned a mid-level bank management position after graduating from Calhoun Community College in the early 1980’s and didn’t consider continuing her education until the lack of a four-year degree prevented her from earning a promotion. She came to Auburn in 1986, found mentors in faculty members Wayne Alderman, Gary Waters, and Rick Tabor, completed her bachelor’s degree two years later, and earned her Master of Accountancy degree in 1992.
“It took me 13 years to get into higher education, but I knew that is where I wanted to be,” said Murphy, a CPA and Director of Accounting Graduate Programs. “[Students] need encouragement and career counseling. As an educator, I believe mentoring students is as important as teaching them the technical content to pass the CPA exam. My goal has been to pay forward what had been done for me. “
Murphy said the most rewarding aspect of her Auburn career has been watching students “grow into very polished young professionals, advance within their careers, begin to have families, and then give back to the institution that laid their foundation for success.”