February 11, 2014

Big Impact: Roland Madison

Roland Madison
As a 20-something Ph.D. student from West Virginia, Roland Madison didn’t realize the profound effect his Nebraska experience would have on the rest of his life. When he graduated in 1978, he knew he was a “better person” because of his University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration education.

“I remember the first time I crossed the state line and saw the motto ‘The Good Life’ and I thought, ‘really?’ When I left Nebraska, I knew it truly was,” he said. “The accounting doctorate program at Nebraska was balanced between quality teaching and research, and allowed flexibility in designing your program. I studied a variety of subjects I would ultimately both teach and research.”

Educators impacted Madison at every academic level beginning in high school. Dr. Robert H. Raymond, his dissertation chair at UNL, is still an important person in his life and visits with to this day. Ever appreciative of the education he received and relationships he made at CBA, it is important for Madison to give back to those who helped him along the way.

“The education I received at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln allowed me to have a successful career as a teacher and researcher. I’m giving back in order to help the current faculty and students be the best teachers and researchers they can be,” Madison said. “Even when times were tough, I always found $100 for Nebraska. You should give back to those who helped you. It’s why I haven’t missed a year of donating in 35 years.”

Roland Madison and Robert Raymond

Madison with dissertation chair Dr. Raymond

During his first two years in the program at UNL, he divided his time between teaching accounting at Marshall University and taking summer classes on campus. The transition from assistant professor to graduate teaching assistant had its challenges, most notably the approach to teaching classes.

 “As a graduate teaching assistant, we were required to use a common syllabus. A few graduate assistants taught separate sections of a course, covering the same material at the same time for a common exam,” he said. “Initially I did not care for this style of teaching, but that was part of the learning process as I prepared common exams with the other graduate assistants.”

After graduating from CBA, Madison enjoyed a successful career in academics. He taught for 40 years overall with the last 27 years at John Carroll University, a private, co-educational Jesuit Catholic university in the Cleveland suburb of University Heights, Ohio. He estimates he has published over 150 articles during that span including multiple articles in 16 of the top tier accounting journals. He retired from the John Carroll faculty in 2010 but his research continues.

“Recently I wrote an article co-authored with my attorney. It is titled “Baby Boomers: Who They Are and What Are They Doing as Retirees” and will be published in the spring of 2014 in Strategic Finance,” he said. “The article is dedicated to Dr. Raymond, my dissertation chair.”