Thomas Turner with “Exponential” campaign chair Gene Johnson ’73
Professor Emeritus Thomas C. Turner, who helped establish the Department of Accounting, is donating $2.5 million to the University. In honor of his generosity, the department has been renamed the Turner School of Accountancy.
While the gift is a headline on its own, Turner’s history and time at UNC Charlotte is just as captivating. Prior to his faculty career, Turner volunteered for service in the Korean War. With his trademark courage and fortitude, he earned a Purple Heart for bravery on the battlefield. Following his service, he joined the faculty of UNC Charlotte in 1966 – just one year after the institution became a part of the UNC system.
Turner served as the founding chair of the Accounting Department, building a nationally recognized program with the same fortitude displayed earlier in life. The degree program that started with just four graduates in 1967 has now graduated more than 5,000. He assembled a team of professors who shared his commitment to teaching excellence and service to students – many who are still teaching today and have brought the program to distinction.
(Pictured, right: Thomas Turner as a new faculty member in the '60s)
"The faculty and alumni say he emphasized the individual needs of students, many of whom were returning to school after service in the military, others who worked factory jobs at night to come to school in the morning and single mothers needing to earn a better living," said Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. "Thomas Turner’s gift is a continuation of his legacy at UNC Charlotte."
Outside of the classroom, Turner served for many years as the chancellor-appointed Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA and was a guiding force in the University joining the Sun Belt Conference in 1976. A year later, the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team made the NCAA Final Four.
Turner retired from UNC Charlotte in 1991 but continues to inspire. In 2014, more than 150 alumni and friends contributed almost $240,000 to create an endowed scholarship to support undergraduate accounting students and provide funds for the Thomas C. Turner Excellence in Teaching Award.
A "Matching" Challenge
The Belk College of Business and the Turner School of Accountancy have launched a fundraising campaign to match Thomas Turner’s gift of $2.5 million for the school. For more information contact Doug Mauney or Portia Brown.