Bertha Hoskins, retired from her career at Hughes Aircraft Company, has been actively
engaged with the Harbert College of Business since earning an accounting degree in
1980. She and her husband, Jim, have been members of the Shareholders’ Club since
2005. Hoskins is also a member of the 1856 Society, Athletics Strategic Advisory Committee,
and Campaign Leadership Committee. Bertha and Jim established an Endowed Fund for
Excellence at the Harbert College in 2014.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your investment in the Harbert College?
A: My husband and I have felt compelled to give to Auburn over the years based on our
loyalty to our Alma Mater. However, we didn’t really know what our investment was
buying. Once I became a member of the campaign committee, I have been able to see
how the generous contributions of Alumni and friends make a difference in the lives
of students and professors. Several years ago, Dean Hardgrave, the staff and advisory
committees developed a strategic plan. The plan lays out the tactical steps needed
to reach the goals in the plan. Each gift is matched to a step based on the interests
of the donor moving the Harbert College of Business closer to meeting its long-term
goals. It is very satisfying to me to see the plan come to life knowing its impact
on the students, staff and professors.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first job after graduating from Auburn was with a regional accounting firm in
Annapolis, Maryland. My husband was in the military when we graduated and he was
stationed in Maryland. I was hired just for the tax season but was asked to remain
as a permanent member of the staff. Because it was a small office, we had to do it
all, audits, compliations, tax, financial planning and even bookkeeping. Having seen
all the financial aspects of a business really helped me later when I went to work
as a Financial Manager for Hughes Aircraft Company. (Yes, that was Howard Hughes’
Q: Why did you choose your profession?
A: My father owned several small businesses but he was not a very good organizer or
bookkeeper. He was more people oriented. I worked for him when I was in high school
trying to help him keep up with the financial side of his business and found it was
very satisfying to me when I could help organize his books and records.
Q: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
A: Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Q: What is one piece of advice you wish you would have known in college?
A: You can be a successful accountant without going into public accounting. When I
was in school and you were majoring in accounting, the only path to success was through
public accounting. I found the few years I spent in public accounting helpful but
not necessary to move up in the corporate world.