At the annual COBA faculty/staff retreat, Dr. Rick Lytle announced the creation of two professorships established by Mark and April Anthony to honor two COBA faculty of significant influence, Jozell Brister and Bill Fowler. Dr. Lytle stated that, “Each of these professors have had a profound impact in the lives of students over the course of their distinguished careers at ACU. Bill and Jo are legends in COBA history and these named professorships will help establish their names in the minds of faculty and students for years to come. “
Jozell Brister was hired as a part-time instructor in the fall of 1979 and joined the business faculty full-time on January 15, 1980 having been a highly regarded business teacher at Abilene High School before that. She has served as the Assistant and Associate Dean for deans Petty and Lytle and is now an Associate Professor of Management Sciences. Of notable achievement, she worked with Dean Bill Petty, traveling from the west coast to the east coast researching business buildings and assisting in the university-wide effort to raise money for the Mabee Business Building and helped, as she puts it, “with odds and ends while the building was in the construction phase.” Jozell directed accreditation efforts for ACBSP and AACSB, was awarded the COBA Master Teacher award, and has a teaching enrichment fellowship established by Dr. Bill Petty in her name. In addition, she was the first director/advisor of COBA’s inaugural COBA Connections advising office.
When asking her about her advising role, she says that, “In the fall of 1980, I was assigned to be the academic advisor for all the business students and we had around 1,200 students. At registration time I had to approve their schedules. One semester I had a bad cold during the registration period. I had such a long line of students waiting for me to approve their schedules, that I didn’t even have time to blow my nose between students. Needless to say, I was not very good at that job. I don’t remember how many semesters I served as academic advisor to the business students. Dr. Faubus had been doing the advising in addition to teaching 4 or 5 classes each semester. After maybe two or three semesters, Bill Petty re-assigned the advising, and I began serving in the Dean’s Suite.”
Dr. Monty Lynn stated that “Jozell has been a constant friend and capable economics teacher for thousands of students passing through ACU, shepherding students through what is a challenging subject for many. She often meets with students in her office as a guide and friend and would win the college’s ‘Best Organized’ award if we ever minted one. She served as an administrator during the college’s formative years and many of her accomplishments – including the advising center and coordinating accreditation efforts – continue as COBA distinctives today. Several years ago, economist Alan Blinder published a book title, Hard Heads, Soft Hearts. That title describes Jozell well as she can do econometric calculations and graphing with the best, and she has dep convictions about economic fairness and justice. While I was still in graduate school, Jozell agreed to join me on a research project on labor union recruiting. Since that publication, she has co-authored research with several COBA faculty members on downsizing, teaching and learning, lifetime giving, non-profit management, and other topics. Jozell is an exceptional colleague, loved teacher, frontier Texan, and occasional humorist – and she has blessed this college through a lifetime of leadership.”
When asked what having a professorship named after her means, she said, “It means a great deal to me. I am deeply touched and honored to have this professorship named for me.” Brister said that, “I would like to be remembered as a teacher who loved her students and who also delighted in being on the faculty at ACU. I would also like to be remembered as someone who had a sense of humor and who loved to make people laugh.”
Bill Fowler came to ACU with an accomplished resume having been a Senior Accountant at Deloitte from 1975-1977 and then Vice President for Finance at Rochester College from 1978-1983. He began working at ACU in January, 1984 as the Assistant Vice President for Finance. In that job, he was responsible for University Financial Reporting, Budgeting, Administrative Computing, Campus Stores and Auxiliary Services, and Physical Plant. In the fall of 1984, he began teaching one section of Accounting Principles and in the fall of 1987, began teaching one section of Auditing. Fowler began his full-time role as a COBA faculty member in the fall of 1991 and was the chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance from 1992-2014.
In his previous administrative role with ACU, Bill was on the building project team for the Mabee Business Building and recounts the many great stories about the construction of the building and the people involved with that project. He stated, “During my tenure as department chair, we added the degree in Financial Management and created the Master of Accountancy degree. The number of students increased from about 135 in 1991 to approximately 250 today. I am proud to have led in the hiring process of 7 of our current Accounting and Finance faculty members. I am especially proud of the role I was able to play in enhancing our relationship with many accounting firms to increase employment and internship opportunities for our students. Since 1991, we have more than tripled the number of firms that come to campus to recruit our students.”
Fowler says that having a professorship named after him is, “Humbling and rewarding. We have so many great professors at ACU. I am honored to represent them and I am grateful for the generosity of the Anthony’s in making this gift.” When asked what he would like his legacy in COBA to be, Bill stated, “I am not sure I am comfortable with the idea of legacy, but I can tell you what is important to me as a professor.
- I always try to be the best professor I can be. I stay current in my discipline, I connect with our profession, and I work on improving my teaching skills. I learned a long time ago that there was a difference in being a good teacher as compared to just being somebody who talked about what they knew.
- I always expect the best from my students.
- I enjoy being in the classroom and try to have some fun along the way.
- The relationships I have made with students are the best part of my work. They have enriched my life.
- It is important that we learn that no matter what we do, whether we are accountants or not, that our mission in life is to use our talents in ways that serve others and give glory to God.”
I think Dr. David Perkins summed up Bill Fowler well when he said, “Bill is the kind of leader who watches out for the best interest of those he represents, both students and faculty.”
These funds will be used by the respective departments, in honor of Bill and Jozell, to reward, nourish, and enhance faculty excellence in COBA through salary stipends and faculty research and development dollars. The dean and a select group of faculty will establish objectives, processes, and timelines for the selection and awarding of these professorships in this academic year. Dr. Rick Lytle says, “We are delighted to have these professorships in our college. Indeed, it is a privilege to be able to use these dollars to reward notable faculty for their accomplishments among us and to enhance their teaching, scholarship, and learning into the future. Jozell Brister and Bill Fowler are the ACU difference! They are individuals who share a great passion for students and their intellectual and spiritual development. They both are great talents in the classroom – among the best in COBA. For decades they have been faithful keepers of the ACU mission in business and share a common faith in God which helps them clearly and logically define right from wrong. As I begin my 25th year in COBA, I thankfully reflect on the blessing they have both been to me in this place we call the College of Business Administration. It has been my privilege to serve alongside two awesome colleagues: Jozell Brister and Bill Fowler.”