Al Arens, professor of accounting for 39 years and a tremendous supporter of the university and its students, passed away on Dec. 6 at the age of 75.
Al was the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Auditing Professor and a member of the Accounting & Information Systems department faculty in the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University from 1968 through 2007. He was selected as one of five national auditing educators to hold the first Price Waterhouse Auditing professorships. This was also MSU’s first named accounting professorship.
Al taught accounting, mainly auditing, with a passion that is legendary. For him, it was truly all about the students. He also was an incredibly successful author. In 1976 he co-authored Auditing: An Integrated Approach a textbook that is still the premier auditing textbook in the U.S and worldwide. He developed and grew Armond Dalton, a publisher of supplementary accounting materials and AHI Associates, a provider of continuing professional education for CPA firms. He coauthored and published a systems understanding aid for auditing programs for college students, and published countless articles that covered accounting and auditing practices and standards. He lectured internationally in China, Jakarta, Indonesia, Singapore, Bangkok, Thailand, Malaysia, Denmark, Norway, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. He won numerous teaching awards, was a recipient of the prestigious MSU University Distinguished Faculty Award, served as chairperson of the department from 1994 to 1997, was the AICPA Educator of the Year, served as president of the American Accounting Association in 1990-91, and was a member of the AICPA Auditing Standards Board. He had a profound impact in both the academic and practitioner accounting professions.
Over the years, Al and his wife Irene have been tremendous supporters of Michigan State University and particularly the Accounting & Information Systems Department in the Broad College. Their gifts include:
- The Arens Teaching Excellence Fund to support the use of teaching assistants in introductory accounting classes, classes that Al taught very successfully for many years. Consistent with his dedication and generosity to the Broad School and its students, Al pledged to match the first $125,000 contributed to the endowment.
- The Arens Scholarships established in 2006 to support students in the colleges of Education, Business and Nursing. Al and Irene funded 13 annual $10,000 scholarships through annual gifts of cash. Their preference was to support single parents with financial responsibility for their children and candidates who are among the first generation in their family to attend college.
Al’s many professional accomplishments did not keep him from spending countless hours enjoying MSU sports, and playing squash, golf, and traveling with friends and family. Al is survived by his wife of 50 years, Irene; sons, John and Scott (JoAnne); daughter, Linda; and four grandchildren.
Al Arens touched the lives of countless students. He was a role model and mentor to virtually all of his professional colleagues. He was a “best friend” to all of his friends. He will be missed.