Barron H. Harvey, ’74, ’75 & ’77, and Audrey Went, ’82, were inducted into the School of Accountancy Hall of Fame this fall at the annual Celebration of Excellence at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Wick Alumni Center. Jimmy Downes, director of the School of Accountancy and associate professor of accountancy, shared how Went and Harvey received the honor because they achieved professional success, but also give back to the College of Business in numerous ways including scholarship support.
“Our Hall of Fame inductees are selected through consultation from the school’s advisory board and faculty, and honors graduates or faculty of Nebraska who achieved statewide, national and international prominence in their accounting careers. These honorees also have performed significant service to their communities and display personal integrity as role models to our students,” Downes said.
Barron H. Harvey, ’74, ’75 & ’77
Harvey serves as dean emeritus and associate provost for academic innovation & strategic initiatives at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Harvey was named associate provost after serving more than 25 years as dean of the Howard University School of Business, its first endowed professor of accounting and chair of the Department of Accounting.
A Certified Public Accountant, he also served on the board of directors of the accrediting organization AACSB International, as president of the Management Education Alliance and founded the National HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Business Dean’s Roundtable, the Washington Business Research Forum and the Washington Business Research Journal. In 2010, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce named him an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“My journey to tonight began in the halls of the old College of Business — I’ve seen the new one. I’m jealous as heck — I remember walking those halls and thinking about how faculty and staff had such strong support for our students. They always pushed us to maximize our effort and maximize our potential. Faculty members like Fred Luthans, Tom Balke, Richard Metcalf, Cary Thorp and others constantly provided advice and counsel to me. Not only did my faculty members and advisors encourage and support me, but the administrators, the dean and the associate dean took time to help me make career-changing decisions,” he said.
While finishing his MBA degree at Nebraska and preparing to start a career, Harvey recalled how the dean and assistant dean told him he would make a good professor, which ultimately changed his path to a Ph.D. program. College administration later asked him to assemble a diverse group of students to work with them on identifying problems, challenges and opportunities for minority students on campus.
“The university was very committed in making sure that they created the right kind of environment for students — all students — to succeed and prosper. That experience I received at Nebraska provided a foundation that has served me and my commitment toward minority education,” Harvey said.
Harvey said when he attended Nebraska as an undergraduate with aspirations of being a CPA, 1% of the CPAs in the United States were Black or African-American.
“Fast forward 40 years and today there are still approximately 1% of the CPAs in the United States who classify themselves as either Black or African-American. That is a real challenge we have to do something about. To move forward, we need to get more students quality education. For those scholars who are already here, I hope you’ll take the skills and support you gained and use it to advocate for others to follow in your footsteps to Nebraska and into the profession. I hope you’ll be an example and contribute back to your alma mater so we can continue this strong pipeline at Nebraska,” he said.
Audrey Went, '82
As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with experience in a variety of industries including financial, accounting and operations roles, Went spent most of her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from 1983 until her retirement in 2014. She worked in Kansas City and Denver before becoming a partner in the Transaction Services Group in New York City in 1995.
Went worked in Tokyo for a year assisting Prudential Financial Corp. with a major acquisition and spent the final 12 years of her career as an audit partner in PwC’s Financial Services industry group. She volunteered with community service organizations to fulfill people's basic needs, served as a reading mentor to children and assisted a New Jersey organization that helped families in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York City.
“Success really brings its own satisfaction and rewards, but there is nothing like being able to use that success to help others, whether it's financial assistance or specialized skills,” Went said.
As she examined the list of previous Hall of Fame honorees, Went recognized faculty and alumni who set the stage for her own career and education at Nebraska and offered pieces of advice she learned along the way. From acts large and small, she attributed their actions to helping build her career.
“The dean of the College of Business at the time, Jack Goebel, asked for funding so I could present a paper at the Beta Alpha Psi national conference. Professor Bob Raymond was the faculty sponsor for Beta Alpha Psi when I was president and Norm Hedgecock was a leader in the accounting community in Nebraska and interviewed me when I was starting my career. Almost nothing in your career will be accomplished on your own. You will almost always be part of a team,” she said.
Growing up in a home on a Nebraska farm without indoor plumbing, but with supportive family, Went says scholarships enabled her to consider attending the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. After graduating with honors, she began her long career with PwC and committed to serving her communities.
“My family had no money to spare for college. I was able to complete my degree partly through the generosity of those donors, to whom I’m eternally grateful. I try to express my gratitude by paying it forward and funding scholarships here and at my hometown high school in Leigh, Nebraska,” Went said.
View the list of past honorees here: https://business.unl.edu/academic-programs/departments/accounting/recognitions/