An impact that lasts beyond our lifetime
By Jess Clarke
For Scott Showalter, working at NC State means more than being director of Poole College of Management’s Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) program and teaching courses.
“We go wherever we are,” he says of his wife, Elizabeth “Josie,” and himself. “We just jumped in with both feet… We decided that if I was going to teach here, I had to do more than teach.”
Do you use subscriptions to attend Wolfpack basketball and football games? To verify. Attend theater productions on campus? To verify.
Establish an endowed scholarship for MAC students? They did too: the D. Scott and Elizabeth A. Showalter endowment.
“The great thing about an endowed scholarship is that it really lasts forever. It’s for people who want to have a long-term impact,” says Showalter. “We want something that lasts well beyond our lifetime.”
The Showalter Endowment can help MAC students throughout their lives as more accounting industry employers require a graduate degree. “Having a graduate degree in accounting is very important for career opportunities and earning potential,” he says.
But students must be able to afford the MAC program to position themselves for these opportunities and higher earning potential.
Many MAC students enter the program with debt from their undergraduate degrees. And some are part-time students who have to work in order to get a graduate degree. “There is a significant need for scholarships,” says Showalter. “Without some type of financial assistance, some have a very hard time making it work.”
Scholarships are an effective recruitment tool. “Students are looking for the best deal they can get,” notes Showalter.
And scholarships increase diversity in the MAC program – and ultimately in the accounting industry, which has never been very multicultural.
A more diverse mix of MAC students enriches the learning experience. “It changes the whole classroom dialogue and teamwork, providing different perspectives,” says Showalter.
Having a cross-cultural group of students increases the number of employers who recruit at NC State and hire graduates. “We see this as important, not just for the MAC program,” he says. “We can have a significant impact on the accountancy profession.
This impact starts in Poole.
Showalter and his wife created the scholarship to help Poole achieve his fundraising goal during NC State’s recent capital campaign. They continued to add to the fund over time. “You have a vehicle that you can easily contribute to and watch it grow,” he says.
So far, one student has received the scholarship, which pays part of the tuition, and another will do so in the fall. The Showalter Fund is one of approximately 15 MAC scholarships, all of which are merit-based.
Before starting at NC State, Showalter worked in public accounting as an associate at KPMG, which recruits MAC students. The company matches its contributions to the scholarship fund. “To the extent your employer matches, it allows you to make an even bigger difference,” he says.
The MAC program makes a difference in the lives of students before they graduate.
Established in 1994, the program provides internships, networking opportunities, and other real-world experiences that position students for success after graduation. With optional academic concentrations, students can differentiate themselves when seeking employment. And the MAC program offers career services dedicated solely to helping MAC students.
“What we hear from students is that we treat them as part of the family. Even our online students don’t feel abandoned,” says Showalter, director of the MAC since 2018 and faculty member since 2008.
The program’s record enrollment of 170 students, in the on-campus and online cohorts combined, reflects this.
Showalter feels an obligation to MAC students that goes beyond the classroom – and he encourages others to support the MAC program and the accounting industry.
“I give back because I want to ensure the success of the accounting profession and accounting professionals in the future. It is crucial for the public to have highly qualified people entering the accounting profession,” he says. “The MAC program is helping a large group of people get into accounting who otherwise couldn’t. If you want to make a difference, this is the place to give.
This message was originally published in the MAC program.