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Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Former SDSU College of Business deans Allan Bailey, left, and Charles Lamden. Former SDSU College of Business deans Allan Bailey, left, and Charles Lamden.

Campaign Impact: Lamden School of Accountancy

The school has a long track record of success.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

This is the second feature in a series about the impact of The Campaign for SDSU on academic and co-curricular programs.

One measure of a successful business is the proficiency of its accounting staff. And one measure of a successful university is the prowess of its accounting students.

For nearly 35 years, students from the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy at San Diego State University have competed at the highest levels for positions at the Big Four accounting firms, other noted global and national accounting firms and leading corporations.

Enrollment at the school has grown by 30 percent in 10 years, and students in the master of science in accountancy program at SDSU’s Fowler College of Business Administration make up approximately one-quarter of all graduate students in the college.

A hallmark of the school is the consistent involvement of faculty and students with accounting professionals-a model established by Charles Lamden decades ago.

First named school

The Lamden School was founded as an accounting program, and was the first of its kind to be accredited in California. Over the decades, it grew into a department and then a designated school.

It also became the first named school in SDSU history in 2008 following a $10 million gift from Gertrude Lamden. Her naming gift honors the legacy of her husband, Charles. An early chair of the accounting department, he was also the first dean of SDSU’s College of Business Administration, last week renamed the Fowler College of Business Administration.

Lamden taught at SDSU, then left to spend more than a decade with the auditing, tax and advisory firm KPMG as a senior executive in Paris and New York. He returned to the school of accountancy in 1975 with a broader world view and unique professional credentials. Colleagues described him as the perfect model for students: a quintessential academic with impeccable integrity and a global mindset.

Solid support

The Lamden gift was the first of several to support and grow the school since it was named in 2008. William Cole (’57, ’64, ’65), created the William E. Cole Director of the School of Accountancy, an endowed position; Richard Seiler (’78) and his wife, Susan (’79), recently endowed the Seiler Research Fellow in Taxation; Catherine Stiefel (’92) and Keith Behner (’71) funded the development of a technology-driven initiative to integrate SAP enterprise application software for accounting and business in the classroom; and Shara (’92) and Scott DiValerio created the Gene Whittenburg Accountancy Lab to honor a long-time SDSU professor. The lab offers instructors the option of displaying teaching materials on five independently operated screens for better interactive and collaborative learning.

Damon Fleming (’01, ’03) assumed the William E. Cole Director position just this year after teaching financial reporting at SDSU since 2007. In the last five years, the Lamden School has hired five tenure-track faculty and one full-time lecturer that specialize in auditing, accounting information systems and financial reporting.

Fleming said donor support is essential to the continued success of the school.

“The naming of the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy was the first major financial gift to the College of Business and has been transformational for our success in preparing accounting professionals to shape the global business environment,” Fleming said. “This gift also highlighted the tremendous value of investing in business education at SDSU and charted a new course for philanthropic support of excellence at SDSU.”

The Campaign for SDSU began in 2007 as an effort to generate philanthropic support for SDSU students, faculty, staff and programs. More than 67,000 donors have contributed to help SDSU surpass its campaign goal of $750 million.

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