Kennesaw State mourns loss of associate dean
KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 14, 2017) — The Coles College of Business lost one of its most powerful voices this week with the passing of Dr. Kathryn Epps, Associate Dean and Director of the School of Accountancy. Whether for her accounting expertise, her dedication to student success, or her passion for minority empowerment, Kathryn’s loss will be felt across the University.
Kathryn joined Kennesaw State University in 2004 as an assistant professor of accounting. She quickly made a name for herself and, in 2006, received the Coles College of Business’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Kathryn became the School of Accountancy’s Director in 2009 before earning the title of Associate Dean of Coles College five years later.
“Kathryn made such an incredible impact at KSU and beyond in a very short period of time,” said Dr. Kathy Schwaig, Dean of Coles College. “When she assumed the SOA director role, she immediately engaged in the life of not only the SOA, but also of the college and KSU, leading many key strategic initiatives across the University.”
As the School of Accountancy’s Director, Kathryn worked tirelessly to prepare students for successful futures in accounting.
“For Kathryn it was about more than just helping students earn degrees. It was about creating qualified accounting professionals,” said Dr. Richard Clune, current Acting Director of the School of Accountancy who served alongside Kathryn as Associate Director for three years. “She loved the School of Accountancy. That shined through in everything she did.”
One of Kathryn’s major accomplishments was the expansion of Kennesaw State’s Master of Accounting degree from a part-time program into a full-time cohort. The change allowed students to complete the program in just one year with the skills necessary to thrive in real-world accounting jobs.
While Kathryn was dedicated to helping all students succeed, she was especially passionate about offering guidance to underrepresented minorities. She supported programs at Kennesaw State and on the national level to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in accounting. In 2010 she published a report on curriculum and scholarship diversity in Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, and, in 2013, she presented at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Women’s Global Leadership Summit.
Kathryn earned several awards during her career with Kennesaw State, including the Gary Roberts Faculty Advisor of the Year Award and the National Association of Black Accountants Student Chapter of the Year Award, which she received twice. Her work has been published in multiple journals such as Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, Research in Accounting Regulation, and The CPA Journal.
She was also Vice-Chair of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business’s Accounting Accreditation Committee and served as Secretary/Treasurer of the American Accounting Association’s Accounting Program Leadership Group.
“The fact that Kathryn was engaged at so many levels inside and outside the University gave her a perspective and insight that few people have,” Schwaig said. “I sought Kathryn’s guidance and advice on many topics and was never disappointed.”
With all of her achievements, Kathryn’s most important career goal was the continued success of her students in the School of Accountancy.
“She loved our KSU accounting students and wanted them to be successful not only academically, but also in life,” Schwaig said. “Students were always front and center for her.”
Schwaig described Kathryn as a natural leader who truly saw the value in her work as an educator.
“She wanted to make our world a better, more equitable place and she knew that education was a great platform from which to do so. She will always be a part of us.”
Kathryn earned a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University before earning her Master of Professional Accountancy and her Ph.D. in Business Administration from Georgia State University. She leaves behind her husband Adrian and her three children, Kathryn, Malik, and Summer.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.