Lauren Cunningham has been appointed the Keith Stanga Professor of Accounting at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. Named in honor of professor emeritus of accounting Keith Stanga, the new professorship was made possible by an endowment from Cindy Joyce (HCB, ’85) and her husband, Jeff Joyce.
“High-quality teaching and research are what give Haslam its reputation, and professorships like this make it possible for me to continue doing both of those things,” Cunningham said. “Our department is extremely fortunate to have had professors like Keith set a strong culture for us to follow, and we’re even more fortunate to have donors like Cindy Joyce supporting what we do.”
Stanga Known for Commitment to Students
Stanga retired as Haslam’s Andersen Professor of Accounting in 2015 after 41 years as a full-time accounting educator, 38 of which were spent at UT. During his tenure, he served as head of Haslam’s accounting department for 10 years and as the department’s Ph.D. advisor for several years. He was active on UT’s faculty senate, undergraduate council and athletics board.
He received numerous teaching awards over the course of his career and was known for his commitment to teaching excellence and for helping students find high-quality internships and career positions. Cindy Joyce, who worked in accounting at Ernst and Whitney (now EY) after graduation, never forgot the impression Stanga made on her as a young accounting student.
“It is truly a blessing when a professor has such a profound impact on students,” she said. “Professor Stanga stands out as a teacher and person who, through encouragement and attention, paved the way for students like myself to become leaders.”
Terry L. Neal, current head of the college’s Department of Accounting and Information Management, agreed. “The creation of this professorship by one of Professor Stanga’s former students speaks volumes as to his impact on the lives of the students he taught,” Neal said. “It is quite fitting that his impact will continue to be felt in our department for years to come.”
Cunningham’s Research Exemplary
Cunningham joined the department in 2014 after receiving her Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Arkansas. In addition to her teaching duties, she is the director of research for Haslam’s Neel Corporate Governance Center and the coordinator of the center’s Distinguished Speaker Series, which hosts corporate executives, board members, regulators and other industry leaders. Her other service activities include sitting on the editorial and review boards for Contemporary Accounting Research, Accounting Horizons and Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory.
“This award means so much to me, especially because it’s named after Keith Stanga,” Cunningham said. “Like many assistant professors, when I was new to Haslam, I had my share of tough days, but Keith’s positive attitude helped me believe in myself to know that I could deliver the high-quality teaching that UT students deserve, and I could compete with those around the world for top-tier research publications.”
Cunningham is a Cheryl Massingale Faculty Research Fellow whose research interests include audit, corporate governance and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s filing review process. Her research has been published in The Accounting Review, Contemporary Accounting Research, Review of Accounting Studies and Accounting Horizons; has been presented at the SEC’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and at conferences internationally, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CFO.com, Accounting Today and in Agenda, the Financial Times’ corporate governance service.
Neal said the department is pleased to recognize Cunningham as the first recipient of the Keith Stanga Professorship. “Her performance in all aspects of her job — teaching, research and service — make her an obvious choice for such an honor.”
Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org