“I’ve always tried to be a gladiator for the client,” says Bill Zink (BUS ’70, MST ’77) of his career in public accounting. “If you’re going to be a gladiator, you had better have a good army behind you.”
That’s one reason Zink and his wife, Kathleen, are longtime donors to DePaul, and why they established the Kathleen A. and William J. Zink Endowed Scholarship in the Master of Science in Taxation Program. “I am devoted to the profession,” says Zink. “I want to help assure that students going into the profession have the very best education.”
Nobody does it better than DePaul”
— Bill Zink (BUS ’70, MST ’77)
In his 46-year career at Grant Thornton International, Zink has overseen the tax practice of more than 120 firms worldwide; one of his main responsibilities is the ongoing education of the tax accountants in the firm.
“The scandals of the 1990s—Enron chief among them—showed the vulnerabilities of the profession and the damage that poor training can do to companies and to the confidence of clients and the public,” Zink says. “It is essential that we have good education and training.”
Zink’s father wanted him to go to Northwestern, but at the time the school had no undergraduate business program. He chose DePaul, and when he met with the legendary accounting professor Eldred “El” Strobel, he saw his future.
“He listened to me, what my interests were and my strengths, and within minutes he had mapped out not only my academic program, but also my career path,” Zink recalls. “He was an incredibly dynamic person, a truly great teacher, passionately committed to his students and to integrity and excellence in the profession.” Strobel served as a member of DePaul’s faculty from 1946 to 1980 and is credited with establishing many of the foundations of the School of Accountancy. The school’s Strobel Scholars program is named for him.
“Kathleen and I are so happy to be able to help future generations of students have the kind of experience that I had when I was at DePaul,” says Zink. “It’s so important that tax professionals get a good education and acquire the kind of learning skills they will need to continually adapt their expertise to a changing business and tax landscape. DePaul gave my family a wonderful life together, and maybe we can do the same for others.”