The University of South Florida announced today that its School of Accountancy will be named for Lynn Pippenger, a long-time supporter. The change was made official this morning by a vote of the USF Board of Trustees. The Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy, within the recently named Muma College of Business, recognizes the retired Raymond James executive for her latest gift of $10 million to the school.
Today’s announced gift is part of the $1 billion USF: Unstoppable Campaign.
“We are so pleased to bestow this honor on our great friend and true USF success story, Lynn Pippenger,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “Lynn’s gift will enhance the academic opportunities provided to students and faculty for generations to come, and that is why we are celebrating and recognizing her today.”
The retired accountant and financial services executive’s first gift to USF was in 1986. This latest generous gift isn’t the end of her support -- she fully intends to continue to support USF and the school that helped her as she built her career.
“It has been something I have thought about for more than 20 years,” Pippenger said. “I just finally decided to speak up … inspired by Pam and Les Muma’s gift to the College of Business.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, representing an additional 190,700 jobs. Pippenger’s gift will help USF address the projected shortfall and prepare more students to take the examinations to become Certified Public Accountants or to earn additional accounting credentials such as Certified Internal Auditor or Certified Management Auditor. Additional scholarships will be available for accounting majors and will provide stipends for students who participate in internships. The gift will also support the school’s infrastructure.
“Ms. Pippenger has provided scholarships to help students study abroad and now she is doing so much more,” said Moez Limayem, dean of the USF Muma College of Business. “She is helping to create a center of excellence and our students will have a much better educational experience because of this.”
“It is a win-win-win,” Limayem said. “Our students win because we are able to provide more scholarships and an even better academic experience. The college wins because we are able to create innovative programs that will attract top students and faculty. And employers win because we provide a steady pipeline of top talent to the future workforce.”
Joel Momberg, CEO of the USF Foundation, said Pippenger’s philanthropy serves as a powerful example of how giving makes a difference.
“Gifts like the one announced today are at the heart of what donors to the USF Foundation are doing through this campaign,” said USF Foundation CEO Joel Momberg. “We’re grateful to Lynn for her longstanding generosity. Over the life of our Unstoppable Campaign, Lynn has given more than $22 million to USF, of which $21 million has been to the Muma College of Business. We know the faculty and students of the school share our gratitude.”
Giving – and accounting – is in Pippenger’s blood.
“When I was 4 or 5 years old and given a small allowance, I was taught that I always had to give back some of it to church and charities, I had to save some of it, and I could spend some of it,” she said. “I still do that same thing today.”
She comes from a long line of accountants. Her ancestors include accountants, bookkeepers, town treasurers, the treasurer of a railroad freight company, and the first auditor, county clerk, and justice of the peace for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, a then-rural area now known as Cleveland.
Pippenger’s career in accounting began long before she was a graduate of USF in 1988. As a teenager, she shadowed a neighbor who taught her about double-entry accounting, debits, and credits. That neighbor also taught her how to use an adding machine and would let her double-check his work. Another neighbor, a stockbroker, taught her about investments.
“The stockbroker had me following a couple of stocks in the newspaper, one of which became my first actual investment, and I still own the stock,” she said. Neither neighbor realized that their time and attention would help make her a trailblazer in an industry that, at the time, rarely included women in leadership positions.
She started working at Raymond James in 1969, hired as a payroll clerk in the then-unknown brokerage firm. Pippenger says that job quickly evolved to become a “whatever comes my way” job, and she worked alongside Bob James, Tom James and several other men to help build the company. While she eventually served as chief financial officer and treasurer of the firm, Pippenger handled numerous special projects as the company grew. She created the firm’s Human Resources Department and launched an internal educational program now known as “Raymond James University.” She helped form the company’s information technology department and was the architect for much of the company’s original technological framework – much of which is still in use today. She also helped file the paperwork to take the company public.
Today, the diversified financial services holding company and its three broker/dealer subsidiaries employ more than 6,200 financial advisors serving about 2.6 million accounts in 2,600 locations worldwide. Its total client assets are approximately $483 billion.
Pippenger jokes that she is the kind of student who, today, would make a university president cringe.
“I worked full-time and took night classes at St. Pete College and USF St. Pete in the 1970s and 1980s. I was an undergraduate for the better part of 16 years before I enrolled in graduate school on the Tampa campus,” she said. “But I completed my coursework in the Executive MBA program on time and graduated with honors in 1988!”
When she retired three years ago, she had long occupied a seat at Raymond James’ executive table, leaving the company as senior vice president. Now, she’s working to ensure that USF business students get the education that could further their own career growth.
“I am honored to be associated with the USF Muma College of Business and its accounting program,” she said. “I am excited that, by giving now, I will have time to see the results of this gift. I look forward to seeing what the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy will accomplish.”
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.The USF: Unstoppable Campaign is a comprehensive fundraising effort by the University of South Florida System to celebrate the energy, vision, and future of one of the country’s most exciting and engaged university systems. Representing the University of South Florida, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee, our students and faculty, our ideas, our research, and our solutions comprise an ambitious plan to enhance healthcare, science, technology, education, business, the arts, and global partnerships.