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October 15, 2021

Aaron Crabtree Tribute Scholarship Established for Students

Accounting Community Honors Former SOA Director
Aaron Crabtree Tribute Scholarship Established for Students
Aaron Crabtree, who served as director for the School of Accountancy for seven years, was recently honored at the Celebration of Excellence. The accounting community showed their appreciation of Crabtree’s dedication and service to the school by establishing the Aaron Crabtree Tribute Scholarship for accounting students.

Honored at the School of Accountancy’s Celebration for Excellence in October, Aaron Crabtree served as director for the School of Accountancy for seven years prior to becoming the associate dean of master’s programs and executive development this summer. The accounting community came together to show their appreciation and established the Aaron Crabtree Tribute Scholarship for accounting students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

“This scholarship is from the accounting community, which means we have had contributions to the scholarship from faculty, alumni and accounting professionals,” Jill Trucke, assistant professor of practice in accountancy, said. “This demonstrates how your impact has gone beyond the walls of the College of Business and how many people appreciate you and the work you have done. Our goal is for this scholarship to be permanently endowed.”

Dr. Aaron Crabtree in a classroom full of students.
Crabtree started Professional Development Days during his time as director, so he and other faculty could connect with students and answer questions about accounting. Since treats were also available at the event, students referred to it as Cookies with Crabtree.

Crabtree joined Nebraska in 2004 after completing his Ph.D at Virginia Tech. He became the director of SOA in 2014 and brought leadership, vision and growth through ideas to benefit students, which indirectly impacted public accounting firms and corporations. These efforts included starting the split internship program where students could work during the busy seasons for tax and audit professionals without delaying graduation, Discover Accounting pre-college program offered in the summer for rising high school seniors, Professional Development Days for students to explore career paths and the university chapter of National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), a recognized student organization.

“Crabtree is a true embodiment of selflessness and going the extra mile for those around him without the need for recognition. I'm eternally grateful for the countless times he supported me,” said Ahmed Ahmed, a senior accounting major and NABA member from Khartoum, Sudan.

Trucke shared how she appreciated his patience when she asked questions because “being a professor was quite different from being an auditor.” She noted his skills in providing direction and suggestions, yet not micromanaging.

“Aaron created the most transparent, collegial environment in which I have worked. I will always consider Aaron a friend and a mentor because of his welcoming attitude and wise counsel. I am forever grateful,” said Dirk Black, assistant professor of accountancy.

Janet Near, associate dean of faculty and research, Howard L. Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership and professor of management, shared how Crabtree supported the development of newly hired faculty and students and provided a strong role model for them.

“Aaron serves as a trusted mediator in faculty discussions, which is especially helpful when a faculty group has to make a decision about a contentious curriculum or personnel question. Most importantly, he consistently treats others with respect and always shows a good sense of humor, even in the most challenging situations. These are the true hallmarks of an academic leader, and Aaron exemplifies all of them,” Near said.

First announced at the conclusion of the SOA Celebration of Excellence this fall, the scholarship was a surprise to Crabtree.

“I am truly honored by the scholarship. This is the most meaningful professional honor that I could receive as it will have a positive impact on students even after I am gone. Thanks to those who made it possible,” Crabtree said.

Donate to the Aaron Crabtree Tribute Scholarship here or contact Justin Swanson, development director for the College of Business, at justin.swanson@nufoundation.org.