Jan Williams Honored for Dedication and Service to Accounting Education

The American Accounting Association recognized Williams, dean and professor emeritus of Haslam, with its Lifetime Service Award.

August 16, 2023

The American Accounting Association (AAA) honored Jan Williams, dean and professor emeritus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, with its Lifetime Service Award. AAA presented the award, which honors a member’s service contributions to accounting education over a sustained period, at the organization’s annual meeting in Denver.

Williams expressed gratitude for those who inspired and encouraged him to serve his profession over the years. “Early in my career, the idea was instilled in me by my professors, and later by colleagues, that professional service should be an important element of my career as a faculty member. I was fortunate to have colleagues more senior than myself who opened doors that would not have been available had they not paved the way. I am particularly grateful for the support I received from UT, which often took me away from campus for extended periods.”

Williams’ Legacy of Leadership

Williams served as head of the college’s Department of Accounting and Information Management (AIM) from 1985 to 1993. He then served as dean from 2000 until his retirement in 2013. Williams has held leadership positions in several professional accounting and business organizations, including the AAA, several state Certified Public Accountant (CPA) societies, the American Institute of CPAs, Beta Alpha Psi international honor society and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. He has also been a member of the Accounting Education Change Commission and the Pathways Commission. In addition, his work has been published in more than 125 articles, books, research monographs, continuing education courses and other publications on accounting and business education and corporate financial reporting.

In 2018, the AAA presented Williams with its highest accolade for an accounting educator, the Outstanding Accounting Educator Award. In 2021, Haslam’s Jan R. Williams Endowed Chair in Accounting Excellence was created in his honor. In retirement, he continues to educate young people by promoting financial wellness through numerous organizations.

Terry L. Neal, Richard L. Townsend Accounting Chair and current head of AIM, has known Williams since joining the UT faculty in 2003 and has worked with him as a co-author on the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) Guide for over a decade.

“Jan Williams has had an incredible and impactful career dedicated to serving both the academy and the profession,” Neal said. “In holding numerous positions of national leadership, he has helped to elevate the visibility of UT’s Department of Accounting and Information Management. He has truly lived a lifetime of service, and so it is fitting that he is now being recognized with the AAA’s Lifetime Service Award.”


Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, sestep3@utk.edu