After 30 years of service, accounting professor Phillip Buchanan is stepping out of the classroom and into retirement.
Since joining the School of Business faculty in 1981, Buchanan has taught more than 6,000 students—leaving a lasting mark on their collegiate experiences. Having also served as the director of graduate programs in accounting and taxation, director of the MBA program, and founding advisor to the Theta Alpha Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting fraternity, Buchanan has impacted countless others during his time at Mason.
Since announcing his retirement, many former students have reached out to the school to share memories of Dr. Buchanan as a professor and mentor.
"Of course we worked very hard," shares John Niehoff '84, partner at Baker Tilly, "but his energy was very exciting. To have a teacher be that excited about teaching really made a lasting impression on me."
Buchanan's influence on his students was very profound, with many of them sharing that the classes they took with him led them to choose a career in accounting.
Joe Ragan III '91, CFO of Boart Longyear, acknowledges that Buchanan had a tremendous impact on his career. "His passion for accounting set me on the path I'm on today as a CFO and a leader of accounting professionals," says Ragan.
Buchanan says his teaching career made a lasting impression on him as well.
"I've learned so much from the diversity of the students," says Buchanan. "I've learned to really appreciate different perspectives."
Buchanan, deeply committed to providing his students with a meaningful learning experience, was also dedicated to helping mold successful alumni to represent the university.
"When students graduate from George Mason they reflect the university, the School of Business, and the accounting department. I want our students that go out to be good representatives of George Mason. I wanted to give them the tools to do that," he says.
Kirk Silva '90, vice president and head of accounting policy at Fannie Mae says Buchanan not only provided a solid understanding of accounting principles but he also enabled Silva to think about accounting issues in a way that has been helpful throughout his career in public accounting.
A number of alumni also have sought to honor Buchanan's legacy at Mason in a long-lasting way. They established the Phillip G. Buchanan Faculty Fellowship to help support the accounting program by attracting and retaining world-class accounting faculty to George Mason.
Buchanan recently spoke about a growing concern facing accounting programs. A study by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Accounting Association in 2009 stated that between 500 and 700 accounting faculty per year will retire over the next 10 years, while accounting PhD programs average about 140 graduates per year.
"The most critical thing for George Mason, and any accounting program, is attracting and retaining the best faculty they can," says Buchanan. "It's hard to be successful without good faculty. This fellowship is very important to the school and the [accounting] program."
While Buchanan's service to George Mason inside the classroom has come to an end, his legacy of exemplary teaching will live on as part of the Phillip G. Buchanan Faculty Fellowship.