Virtual Mentor Reception Celebrates Student and Alumni Mentoring Success

(L to R) Margaret Tower, instructor and director of the Student Success Office; John O’Connor (BUS ’86), partner at Plante Moran; Mike Whalen (MST ’88), EY partner, celebrate at the annual accounting mentor reception in 2019.


The School of Accountancy & MIS hosted its annual mentor reception virtually in October 2020, bringing together professors, alumni and external partners from firms and organizations to network and hear updates about the school and its mentorship program. The event was led by Professor of Accountancy Margaret Tower, who developed the school’s required Career Management for Accountants course that pairs students with mentors who are working accountants.

“Collectively as a school, we have professional networks we can draw upon to help support our students,” says Tower, who is also director of the school’s Office of Student Success and Engagement. “All of the instructors, especially my colleagues Kent Klaus, Bill Dexter and Deb Gartke, have helped create connections with mentors. The Career Management for Accountants course relies on input from the profession, so these mentoring connections are critical.”

Tom Donley, interim dean of the Driehaus College of Business, also attended the event. He shared updates on the school’s enrollment and on how the college as a whole has been navigating virtual learning this school year. “Throughout this period, our faculty and staff have continued to provide highly effective teaching and support for our students,” said Donley. “The School of Accountancy’s 96% career success rate is a testament to our commitment to actively engaging students.”

In perhaps the most captivating moment of the night, Exelon Financial Analyst Elizabeth Ramirez (BUS ’20) shared her story of discovering a passion for accounting and attributed her early career success to the mentorship program. “I was working at a law firm and wanted a position that combined my interests in accounting, law, computer coding and public service,” said Ramirez. “My mentor kept an open line of communication for me that I could seek out for advice, whether it was going over my resume or sharpening my interview skills. Having that resource really helped me set myself apart from others.”

Mentors, many of whom are DePaul alumni, come from all levels and career paths in the accounting profession. John O’Connor (BUS’86), partner at Plante Moran and member of the school’s Ledger & Quill advisory board, shared the joy that the mentorship program has brought him: “I think that what DePaul does leading this mentoring program where you connect students with professionals is standout and exceptional, both in helping students and in giving us as alumni an opportunity to give back and see success stories like this.”

To conclude the virtual reception, Tower discussed the initiative’s progress, highlighting that one of the attendees, Exelon CFO Joseph Trpik, was one of 17 members of the mentorship program’s inaugural class. “The program continues to succeed by providing students with a network that includes traditional public accounting as well as corporate accounting, government and not-for-profit work,” said Tower in her closing remarks. “The career pathways are numerous and give our students many options to choose from for their future.”

By Shameer Riaz

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