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Society Honors Past Leaders and Looks Ahead, at Installation Dinner

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Jul 16, 2019

Herringer & Rahilly
Jan C. Herringer (left) and Ita M. Rahilly

On May 29, the NYSSCPA hosted “An Evening of Celebration with the 100th President,” to honor Ita M. Rahilly, who became the 100th president of the Society, succeeding Jan C. Herringer. The dinner took place at The University Club in Manhattan.

As the event celebrated the Society’s leadership throughout its 122-year history, 11 past presidents were in attendance: Stuart Kessler (1984–1985); Arthur I. Gordon (1993–1994); Marilyn A. Pendergast (1994–1995), the first woman to serve as president; Alan E. Weiner (1999–2000); Jo Ann Golden (2002–2003); David A. Lifson (2007–2008); Sharon Sabba Fierstein (2008–2009); J. Michael Kirkland (2013–2014); Scott M. Adair (2014–2015); F. Michael Zovistoski (2016–2017); and Harold L. Deiters III (2017–2018). During the evening, a video showing the photos of each of the past presidents ran on a loop, and the tables were named after some of the more prominent past presidents.

Rahilly spoke about the Society’s first president, Charles Waldo Haskins (1897–1903), who helped pass legislation to regulate the public accounting  profession in New York City and played a major role in  the 1900 founding of the School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance of New York University—the first university accounting program in America. She also spoke about her plans for the coming year, which include launching an inaugural NYSSCPA Leadership Institute for NextGen members, hosting a member innovation challenge and holding a statewide membership event upstate.

In addition to Rahilly, the NYSSCPA installed the 2019–2020 slate of officers and directors. Their names can be found here.

Walter J. Smith, the president and CEO of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA), also spoke. Smith observed that, like the NYSSCPA, NABA is celebrating a significant milestone this year—it’s 50th anniversary—and he said that he was happy to see an increased representation of people of color in the profession in the years since he became a CPA. He also said that he looked forward to partnering with the Society on future projects to benefit the profession.

During the dinner, the NYSSCPA honored four recipients of Society Awards: William H. Dresnack—the Dr. Emanuel Saxe Outstanding CPA in Education Award, J. Michael Kirkland—the NYSSCPA Distinguished Service Award, Steven M. Morse—the Arthur J. Dixon Public Service Award, and Joel C. Quall—the Outstanding CPA in Industry Award. In addition, Dominic J. Rovano was the surprise recipient of the Committee Chair Award. Rovano, a partner at Janover LLC, currently serves as the chair of the Chief Financial Officers Committee. He previously served as chair of the Employee Benefits Committee.

Past President David A. Lifson was revealed to be the anonymous donor who, in the weeks leading up to the event, offered a matching-gift challenge to benefit The Moynihan Scholarship Fund. All told, the event raised $32,900 for the Fund, which supports the Society’s Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) and Excellence in Accounting Scholarships programs. For over 30 years, the COAP program has introduced New York high school students of color to the accounting profession through a multiday college readiness program at colleges and universities across the state. The Excellence in Accounting Scholarships provide financial assistance to college accounting majors who meet or exceed certain academic standards and demonstrate financial need.

Click here to see more of the latest news from the NYSSCPA.