By Amy McCaig

Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business has received a $2.5 million gift to launch the James S. Turley-Ernst & Young Leadership Development Initiative. This new initiative will help Rice to re-establish its Master of Accounting (MAcc) program — subject to the approval of the Rice Faculty Senate — and train future business leaders in the accounting profession.

The initiative is named for James Turley, the retiring global chairman and chief executive officer of Ernst & Young and a 1977 graduate of Rice’s MAcc program. The $2.5 million gift that made the initiative possible includes $1 million from Turley, $500,000 from Ernst & Young and $1 million from Ernst & Young Rice alumni and various partner donations in honor of Turley.

“As the leader of a global professional services organization, Jim became known for setting an organizational tone that nurtured the provision of world-class services with impeccable professionalism and integrity,” said Tim Griffy, partner in assurance services at Ernst & Young LLP and a 1980 graduate of Rice’s MAcc program. “The Jones School’s new program will produce more leaders like Jim, so it’s fitting that this new initiative is named for him.”

“In serving as Ernst & Young’s global chairman and CEO for the past 12 years, I’ve not only been continually thankful for how my own experience in Rice’s MAcc program prepared me as both a professional and leader, I’ve also witnessed the critical role that academia plays in developing the next generation of business leaders,” Turley said. “I’m confident that reinvigorating Rice’s MAcc program will help countless students build promising careers, while reaching new heights in an already rich history of achievements.”

The new initiative will focus on adding graduate-level courses with historical, practical and theoretical components in auditing, accounting and all aspects of financial reporting, as well as instruction in all forms of communication. The MAcc program was originally offered from 1975 to 1997.

Bill Glick, dean of the Jones School, said that the Turley-Ernst & Young Initiative will also develop and nurture a dynamic accounting graduate education partnership between Ernst & Young and the Jones School. Several graduates of the Jones School’s original MAcc program are leaders in prominent global organizations. “The vision for the re-launch is to replicate this success and provide ethical, judicious, thought leaders for the global accounting profession,” he said.

The Jones School expects to have the first cohort of MAcc students matriculate in fall 2016.

“[The initiative] will be designed as a dynamic partnership with Ernst & Young, continually adjusting to the changing landscape of the accounting profession by developing relevant curriculum and course work,” Glick said. “I am delighted and grateful Jim and the Ernst & Young family will continue to play a prominent role in this endeavor.”

Jones School alumni rate their MBA program No. 4 globally for accountancy, according to the 2013 rankings from the Financial Times.

“The accounting faculty at the Jones Graduate School of Business is highly regarded for its excellence in research and teaching,” said Glick.