An Impact That Lasts Beyond Our Lifetime
By Jess Clarke
For Scott Showalter, working at NC State means more than being director of the Poole College of Management’s Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) program and teaching courses.
“We go all in wherever we’re at,” he says of his wife, Elizabeth “Josie,” and him. “We just jump in with both feet…We decided if I was going to teach here, I needed to do more than teach.”
Using season tickets to attend Wolfpack basketball and football games? Check. Attending campus theater productions? Check.
Establishing an endowed scholarship for MAC students? They’ve done that, 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,” Showalter says. “We want something that lasts way beyond our lifetime.”
The Showalter endowment can help MAC students over the course of their lifetime, as more employers in the accounting industry require a graduate degree. “Having a graduate degree in accounting is very important for career opportunities and earnings potential,” he says.
But students must be able to afford the MAC program to position themselves for those opportunities and a higher earnings potential.
Many MAC students enroll in the program with debt from their undergraduate degrees. And some are part-time students who need to work to be able to obtain a graduate degree. “There is a significant need for scholarship money,” Showalter says. “Without some type of scholarship aid, some find it really hard to make it work.”
Scholarships are an effective recruitment tool. “Students are looking for the best bargain they can get,” Showalter notes.
And scholarships increase diversity in the MAC program — and ultimately in the accounting industry, which historically hasn’t been very multicultural.
A more diverse mix of MAC students enriches the learning experience. “It changes the whole dialogue in the classroom, and working in teams, by providing different perspectives,” Showalter says.
Having an intercultural group of students boosts the number of employers who recruit at NC State and hire graduates. “We see this as important not just to the MAC program,” he says. “We can have a significant impact on the accounting profession.”
That impact begins at Poole.
Showalter and his wife established the scholarship to help Poole reach its fundraising goal during NC State’s recent capital campaign. They’ve continued to add to the fund over time. “You have a vehicle which you can easily contribute to and see it grow,” he says.
So far, one student has received the scholarship, which pays partial tuition, and another will in the fall. The Showalter fund is one of about 15 MAC scholarships, all merit-based.
Before he started at NC State, Showalter worked in public accounting as a partner at KPMG, which recruits MAC students. The firm matches his contributions to the scholarship fund. “To the extent your employer does match, it allows you to make even more of a difference,” he says.
The MAC program makes a difference in students’ lives before they earn their degree.
Established in 1994, the program offers practicums, networking opportunities and other real-world experiences that position students for success after graduating. With optional academic concentrations, students can differentiate themselves when they’re looking for jobs. And the MAC program has dedicated career services focused only on assisting MAC students.
“What we hear from students is that we treat them like part of the family. Even our online students don’t feel deserted,” says Showalter, MAC director since 2018 and faculty member since 2008.
The program’s all-time-high enrollment of 170 students, in the on-campus and online cohorts combined, reflects that.
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 going forward. It’s crucial for the public to have well-qualified people entering the accounting profession,” he says. “The MAC program helps a broad constituency of people enter into accounting who couldn’t otherwise. If you want to make a difference, this is the place to give.”