“I don’t really see any downs. For me, it was the best time in the world.” That’s Texas A&M Senior Accounting Lecturer Linda Perry’s response to the question of her ups and downs of teaching at Mays.
After 24 years of teaching and advising students in the business school, Perry is retiringâ€”but she’s not leaving empty handed. Perry was honored with the Association of Former Students Distinguished Teaching Award at the college level in 1992 and 2005 and at the university level in 1996. The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants named her Outstanding Accounting Educator in 2001.
“She’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen,” Andersen Professor and Accounting Department Head James Benjamin says. “Students simultaneously talk about how tough she is but also how great she is.”
Perry’s contributions to Texas A&M haven’t stopped at teaching. In addition to advising, she has been heavily involved with nominations for the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which selects 10 recent graduates each year to work in its program. Mays has had 19 students selected since the FASB post graduate program was founded, 12 alone under Perry’s tutelage.
Perry has enjoyed spending time with students outside of the classroomâ€”whether it’s when they come for advice, or traveling to New York with OPAS students. “Anyone who’s spent any time with the students recognizes that we have the best university, and it’s because of the students,” Perry says.
And it’s because of the encouragement from colleague and fellow 2007 retiree Carlton Stolle, Professor of Accounting, that Perry began to teach at Mays: “He’s the reason I’m here.”
With 42 years of teaching accounting at Texas A&M, Stolle established the longest career in the accounting department. “We came here in 1964 and this is home to us more than any other city we’ve lived.”
Stolle grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, and came within 10 minutes of being sworn into the Navy before he decided to go straight to college instead.
Stolle never planned on being a professor, but thousands of students and faculty have shown him that he took the right road. After announcing his retirement last summer, letters started pouring in from former students, sharing their appreciation and favorite memories from knowing him. Stolle was taken aback at a surprise retirement party last month. The room was filled with faculty, staff and former students and their families—some from as far away as Cincinnati.
“I’ve talked to some former students from the 60s and 70s and they feel the same way about him as current students do, showing that he’s very consistent. He’s a wonderful person, a great colleague, and will be hard to replace,” Benjamin says.
As Stolle came to turn in his key in June, he told a former student visiting him in his office, “This isn’t my last day up here—I’ll be around.”
Both Perry and Stolle are planning to spend retirement with their families. Stolle will retire in College Station with Sandra, his wife of 44 years, while making trips to New Jersey to visit son Brent ’98 and his family. And Perry is headed off to Charleston, Illinois, to support her husband Bill as he begins his presidency at Eastern Illinois University.
Benjamin explains the department’s challenge is to replace the retiring duo with some equally inspiring people. “We’ve hired some neat people, but they have big shoes to fill.”
Barry also retires
Information and Operations Management Assistant Professor Evelyn Barry was drawn to Texas for its warm weather and friendly people. And after five years at Texas A&M, the undergraduate students in her classes became an additional Texas favorite, she recalled as she retired this year.
“They were all so enthusiastic and they worked very hard for me,” Barry says. “I knew that this was not their only class, so I really appreciated their work. I really enjoyed watching them succeed.”
Barry grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and worked for the State of Wyoming Department of Administration and Information for 21 years before deciding to enter academics full time. She returned to her alma mater at Carnegie Mellon University and taught as an assistant lecturer, and then came to Mays in 2002 for her first faculty position.
“I knew when I came for my first interview that this [Texas A&M] was the job for me,” Barry says.
Throughout her career Barry has taught numerous courses, including database and lifecycle software management, and pursued research in software evolution and software volatility. She was honored with the Americas’ Conference on Information Systems 1999 Best Paper selection, and in 2000 she received the Research Proposal Award from the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems. She served as the 2004 Audio Engineer for the International Conference on Information Systems.
Barry is currently getting settled in her new home in Bridgeport, Nebraska. She recently moved there with her mother, and they will be living close to Barry’s sister and family. Barry plans to take on research consulting work, and is looking forward to having time for hobbies, such as photography.
â€” Lindsay Newcomer