The Kathy Eddy New Horizons Fund has been established by the Marshall University Foundation Inc. The purpose of the new fund is to enable motivated students to expand their horizons by visiting with established professionals in the field of accounting in order to introduce them to varied career options.
The fund, which will provide financial assistance to pay for expenses incurred to make these visits, was announced last week during a meeting of Beta Alpha Psi, the university’s accounting honorary and service group.
“We are grateful for the support and interest by Kathy Eddy to endow the Kathy Eddy New Horizons Fund,” said Dr. Ron Area, CEO of the Marshall Foundation. “This unique endowment fund will be utilized to help accounting students in our College of Business attend accounting-related conferences. The income from this fund will help students cover some of the expenses associated with the conferences. We are proud of Kathy’s accounting career and the national recognition she has earned. We appreciate her willingness to invest in the lives of our accounting students.”
From humble beginnings, through a combination of dedication to her profession and contributions to her community, Eddy’s horizons were continually expanded through interaction with peers and fellow volunteers and ultimately led to her selection as chairman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (the world’s largest association of accounting professionals) from 2000 to 2001.
Eddy is the daughter of the late Glen E. and Mildred Eddy from Harrisville, West Virginia, and the first in her family to receive a college degree. She graduated from Marshall in 1972 and began her professional career as a CPA.
“I am both excited and pleased to have this unique opportunity to provide the base funding that will, hopefully, open new horizons not previously imagined by our accounting students,” Eddy said. “These unique opportunities are designed to expose students to what is possible for their careers and to help them make more informed decisions about their future direction.”
She was the second woman and only the second person from West Virginia to serve as chairman of the AICPA in the organization’s 125-year history, and she received the AICPA’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Service (the AICPA’s highest award). Eddy is a life member of the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, which is the society’s highest award.
“Eddy recalled a story told by Robert Fox, a distinguished Marshall alumnus, about his professional career being shaped by being able to obtain a very small loan that allowed him to have an experience as a young graduate which he credits with shaping his entire career.
“Without that experience, he feels certain his professional life would have been much different,” she said. “That story struck home with me.”
When her good friend Bob Simpson, who has been teaching accounting at Marshall since 2011, approached her about the need to find a way to help Marshall’s accounting students expand their vision of what their future could be, she was immediately reminded of Fox’s story.
“But many times students don’t view national programs as being meant for them. The question Bob posed to me was, ‘where is the hands-on help for Marshall students?’ ” Eddy said.
“I have concluded that good students with Marshall accounting degrees are well equipped to work in a wide variety of accounting jobs, but they are sometimes not aware of the vastness of the accounting profession and the many career opportunities that exist within it,” Simpson said.
“I wanted to see a fund established that would enable Marshall accounting majors to travel to see and experience more of the profession. Kathy Eddy, one of our most prominent graduates, shared this vision. She and her husband, Ed, agreed to establish and endow the ‘Kathy Eddy New Horizons Fund.’ This fund will provide the financial resources to enable some of our deserving students with these opportunities.
“Future students will not only be well prepared with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of accounting, but with a broadened perspective on the professional possibilities awaiting them. We hope that this combination will lead to careers of accomplishment and fulfillment.”
MU College of Business Dean Dr. Haiyang Chen said the college appreciates Eddy’s generosity.
“The Kathy Eddy New Horizons Fund will make it possible for our accounting students to go out and see the professional world,” Chen said. “These trips to professional conferences, job shadowing of business leaders, etc., will open their eyes to many opportunities. These professional enrichment programs fit very well with our mission of focusing on student services and experiences. We would like to thank Kathy for her continued support of the accounting programs in the college.”
Photo: Kathy Eddy discusses the Kathy Eddy New Horizons Fund at a meeting of Beta Alpha Psi. last week.