Benjamin C. Ayers, director of the J.M. Tull School of Accounting in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, has been named dean of the Terry College. The appointment, announced today by UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten, is effective July 1.
“Ben Ayers has done an exceptional job as director of the Tull School,” Whitten said. “He has demonstrated an extraordinary dedication to students and has shown exceptional commitment in reaching out to work with alumni and industry. He’s a valued colleague to faculty. He’s the perfect candidate to step up and lead the Terry College.”
Ayers will succeed Charles B. Knapp, UGA president emeritus, who has served as interim dean since last July 1, when Robert Sumichrast stepped down as dean to accept a position at Virginia Tech. Ayers was a finalist in the original search to replace Sumichrast early last year, which ended without a candidate being named.
“Our success in placing Dr. Ayers at the helm of the Terry College is a matter of fit and timing. Professor Ayers was always the perfect fit for this position, and now the timing is perfect as well,” Whitten added.
“Having Ben Ayers as its dean is a great outcome for the Terry College,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Likewise, he will be a great addition to the overall leadership team for the university. I very much look forward to working with him in his new role.”
Ayers was named director of the Tull School in 2005 after serving on the faculty since 1996. He also holds the Earl Davis Chair in Taxation. Under his leadership, the School of Accounting’s undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. programs have consistently ranked in the top 10 programs among public universities. Tull graduates recently achieved the highest first-time CPA pass rates among all public universities.
An expert in taxation, Ayers has taught introductory tax classes to undergraduate students and a highly regarded tax research class for master’s level students. He has received 11 teaching awards at the school, college and university levels, including the Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He has published articles in many of the most-respected journals in the field, and is one of only two professors to be awarded both the American Accounting Association’s Competitive Manuscript Award and the American Taxation Association’s Outstanding Manuscript Award, which he has received twice. He recently was recognized as being in the top 5 percent of the most productive accounting researchers over the past 50 years.
A certified public accountant in Alabama, Ayers holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s in taxation from the University of Alabama. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., he worked for KPMG in Atlanta and Tampa and Complete Health Inc. in Birmingham.
“I am thrilled at the opportunity to head the Terry College,” Ayers said. “This is an important time in higher education and especially for the field of business. I am enthused about the prospects for the college and the university.”
The Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia is consistently ranked among the top in the nation. Its faculty are committed to high-quality research and instruction, preparing students at every level for the global business community. Terry offers undergraduate business (BBA, AB-Econ), Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA, Executive MBA, Master of Accountancy, Master of Marketing Research, online Master of Internet Technology, PhD and Executive programs. It is also home to the Selig Center for Economic Growth. For more information, visit www.terry.uga.edu.