New Endowed Chair in Accounting Created to Honor Dean Emeritus Jan Williams

James Myers is the first faculty member to hold the Jan R. Williams Endowed Chair in Accounting Excellence in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.

Named for the former head of the Department of Accounting and Information Management (AIM) and dean emeritus of the college, the endowed chair was made possible by an anonymous $1 million donation and matched by the Haslam family.


The donor couple both graduated from UT, where they met. While at UT, they were impressed by Williams’ work in multiple areas. With their endowment, they desire to highlight Williams’ contributions to the college and to further the work of AIM.

“We wanted to recognize Jan Williams’ impact at so many levels – students, faculty, the accounting program, the Haslam College of Business, and the accounting profession at large,” they said in a statement. “He was never afraid to question the status quo when changes were needed. His insight, creativity, and perseverance led to so many changes, big and small.”

Williams joined UT as a professor in 1977. He served as head of the AIM department and associate dean before becoming acting dean in 2000 and dean in July 2001, staying in this role until his retirement in 2013. In 2018, the American Accounting Association (AAA) honored Williams as its Outstanding Accounting Educator, its highest award. His achievements include authoring and co-authoring more than 125 publications on issues of corporate financial reporting and accounting and business education and being AAA’s president, among many other honors. After retiring to Nashville, he became affiliated with Belmont University, where he served as interim dean of the Massey College of Business in 2019-20.

“For an accounting alum to make this level of commitment is a wonderful testament to the quality of the accounting and business education the donor received at UT,” Williams said. “It also supports continued high-quality education by attracting and retaining outstanding accounting faculty. Having my name associated with this endowed chair is an incredible honor, and I am grateful to the donor, as well as the faculty I was fortunate to have served with for 36 years. In retirement, I continue to look forward to representing and supporting UT accounting and business education as opportunities arise.”


James Myers said he is honored to be chosen as the first recipient of the Dr. Jan R. Williams Endowed Chair in Accounting Excellence. “Jan Williams has been a major influence on accounting education for almost 50 years, much of which has been in service to our department and college,” he said. “This generous funding will support my teaching and enhance my research while also advancing AIM’s work.”

“Jan Williams left a lasting legacy on the college and made a significant impact on the accounting profession,” Terry L. Neal, department head and Richard L. Townsend Chaired Professor of Accounting, said. “This newly established chair is a fitting recognition of that impact. We are grateful for the generosity of the anonymous donor, who wants others to know how deeply Jan’s work influenced the donor’s career and wanted to honor his tireless efforts to make AIM, the college, and the university better.”

“Jan Williams is very deserving of this extraordinary tribute,” Stephen L. Mangum, dean of the college and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair, said. “Jan served as dean of the college for the better part of 15 years. During this time, the college saw significant growth in its undergraduate student body that continues to this day, experienced tremendous growth in its executive education operations, broadened its revenue sources, and advanced the reputation of a number of academic departments. Jan continued to teach during much of his time as dean, and students held him in high esteem for his deep knowledge of his core discipline of accounting. Throughout Jan’s career, he successfully impacted both the academy and the profession, building important bridges between the two.”

– Scott McNutt

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