A renowned accounting researcher ranked at the top amongst his peers, Thomas Omer, Delmar Lienemann Sr. Chair in Accountancy and professor emeritus of accountancy, leaves behind a historic academic legacy full of impact and merit that stretches beyond the College of Business. To celebrate his notable career and achievements, the School of Accountancy hosted the inaugural Nebraska Accounting Research Symposium this spring, in honor of Omer.
“Professor Omer is retiring after a 37-year career in higher education. He has been a cornerstone of this school, teaching countless students in the areas of tax and data analytics. His biggest impact has been in the areas of research productivity and Ph.D. student mentorship. Tom is dedicated to developing accounting scholars and continues to work with many of his former mentees. Through his unwavering commitment to excellence, he has inspired generations of students to pursue faculty careers,” said Jimmy Downes, director of the School of Accountancy and associate professor of accountancy.
While at Nebraska, Omer ranked No. 1 in archival tax all topics, No. 2 in archival tax and No. 5 in archival audit in the BYU Accounting Research Productivity Rankings. He also stands with an elite group of scholars who have published research in all six top accounting journals – notably with work co-authored by his former students.
“Through his research, Tom has pushed the boundaries of our understanding of accounting practices and principles, making groundbreaking contributions to the field. His work has been recognized and celebrated by his peers, earning him numerous awards and accolades throughout his career,” Downes said.
Each of the four symposium presenters was a former Ph.D. student Omer mentored, and the scholars who attended from other colleges and universities shared and discussed the latest accounting research, which Downes said was a fitting way to celebrate Omer. Bo Gao, '21, returned to campus as one of the symposium presenters because Omer heavily influenced her academic career.
"With Tom's guidance, support and encouragement throughout my Ph.D. journey, I learned to be a researcher with critical thinking, work ethic and professionalism. I also learned to be a responsive, responsible and reasonable co-author. His hardworking and research passion did, does and will continue to influence me throughout my career," said Gao, who serves as an assistant professor of accounting and information systems at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Brant Christensen, an associate professor of accounting at Brigham Young University, reflected on Omer's impact on his career. Christensen studied at Texas A&M University while Omer served as a member of his dissertation committee.
“Dr. Omer taught our first-year Ph.D. seminar along with Dr. (Marjorie) Shelley. Together, they played a foundational role in developing my approach and love for research. Tom is passionate about research, and you can’t help but have that rub off on you if you spend any time around him. He loves learning new things and passes that on to all of his students,” he said.
Throughout his years of teaching and service, Omer found the most delight when working with Ph.D. students on research. He emphasized how the partnerships were mutually beneficial.
“I got just as much out of my students as they might have gotten out of me. That's what made it successful for all of us, so that's why after retiring, I get to work on papers, which is what I really like to do,” Omer said. “It was a joint effort over the years, and I thoroughly enjoyed the joint effort that went into all of those papers more than you can imagine.”
A committed lifelong learner, Omer becomes an emeriti faculty member with 15 academic papers currently in the works. A highly respected researcher, academic journal editor, faculty member, teacher, mentor and more, Downes shared how Omer’s legacy will endure for generations.
“Tom’s contributions to our department and our college will not be forgotten, and his impact on the lives of his students will be felt for years to come. We are grateful for his unwavering dedication, his tireless efforts and his commitment to excellence, and we wish him nothing but the best as he embarks on this new chapter of his life,” Downes said.
Published: May 2, 2023