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William Patton: in remembrance.

Wilham Andrew Paton, a founder of the American Accounting Association who was voted Accounting Educator of the Century by the American Institute of CPAs in 1987, died in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in April at the age of 101.

Paton began teaching in 1915 in the economics department at the University of Michigan, but for most of his career he taught accounting in the university's School of Business Administration. He retired in 1959. Some of his 20,000 students later became chairmen of major U.S. corporations (including Roger Smith of General Motors), partners in public accounting firms and leaders in academia. He was a member of the Michigan Association of CPAs and the AICPA. He served on the Institute's committee on accounting procedure (forerunner of the Financial Accounting Standards Board) from 1939-1950. During these 11 years he never missed a meeting or a class and covered all of his expenses out of his own pocket.

Bill Paton will be remembered as a devoted, demanding professor who maintained a strong interest in the careers of his students. The love and respect held for him by students are shown in the William A. Paton Center for Accounting Education and Research at the University of Michigan: The building, dedicated in 1976, was funded entirely by former students.

In 1940, Paton gave a series of lectures at Harvard University. Following his "retirement" he was a visiting professor at schools in 10 states. He was widely known as a speaker at professional meetings, business organizations and academic societies.

A prolific writer, Paton was the author or coauthor of a score of books and some 160 articles and monographs. He was editor of (and a major contributor to) the 1932 and 1943 editions of the Accountants' Handbook, and he was the first editor of Accounting Review. His first book, Accounting Theory, published in 1922, was instrumental in developing the theoretical foundations for the practice of accounting in the United States.

Paton was extremely active in professional organizations. In 1922, at age 32, he became president of the American Association of University Instructors in Accounting and began a 13-year campaign to change the group's name to the American Accounting Association in order to broaden its membership base and enlarge its objectives.

Paton was one of three persons (and the only professor) elected to the Accounting Hall of Fame when it was established in 1950 at Ohio State University. In 1961, the Michigan Association of CPAs established the William A. Paton Award for the Michigan candidate scoring highest on the CPA examination. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a number of other academic honor societies.

Paton's devotion to his teaching and writing was exceeded only by his love of family. His close friends will remember him as a kind, softhearted and caring person. He is survived by two children and nine grandchildren. Individuals who wish to remember William Andrew Paton may do so by contributing to the Paton Scholarship Fund at the University of Michigan.

-Walter G. Kell (Walter Kell was a longtime friend who enjoyed a close professional relationship with Paton.)
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Title Annotation:former accounting teacher at the University of Michigan
Author:Kell, Walter G.
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Testimonial
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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