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Petty and Thomas Among Professors Designated as Master Teachers, Will be Honored at Homecoming

Oct. 20, 2004

Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. has announced the designation of Master Teacher - the highest honor granted to Baylor faculty members - on Rachel Moore, senior lecturer of English; Dr. J. William Petty, holder of The W.W. Caruth Chair of Entrepreneurship and professor of finance; Dr. Alden Smith, chair of the classics department and director of the honors program; Dr. William Thomas, The J.E. Bush Professor in Accounting; and William Underwood, The Leon Jaworski Professor of Practice and Procedure at Baylor Law School.

The five will be introduced at the beginning of Pigskin Review performances at 7 p.m and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, in Waco Hall.

"I am pleased to announce the Master Teacher designation for these five outstanding faculty members who have distinguished themselves in Baylor classrooms," Sloan said. "I am confident that every student who has had the privilege of studying under these exceptional professors will testify to the positive impact they have had on their lives. It is an honor that these faculty members have earned and deserve."

Moore received her bachelor's degree from Mississippi College and her master's degree from Baylor. She began teaching in the university's English department in 1966. She is a member of the South Central Language Association and the Central Conference of Teachers of English. Her research and teaching interests include British poetry and American literature, especially Southern writers Eudora Welty, William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor.

Selected as a Piper Professor for 2003 by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, Moore is a past recipient of numerous teaching awards, including 1999 Collins Outstanding Professor award, the Most Outstanding Baylor Teacher award, Mortar Board's Top Prof Award, Gamma Beta Phi Teacher Appreciation Award and the Student Congress Outstanding Teaching Award. In 1986, the Baylor chapter of Chi Omega sorority established The Rachel Hunter Moore Award for Outstanding Teaching, which is awarded to women faculty members at Baylor.

Petty, who has taught at Baylor since 1990, earned a bachelor's degree from Abilene Christian University and an MBA and doctorate from the University of Texas. Prior to beginning his tenure at Baylor, he served as dean of the College of Business Administration at Abilene Christian, professor of finance at Texas Tech University and assistant professor at Virginia Tech.

Petty's research interests include valuation and acquisitions of privately held companies, the financing of entrepreneurial firms, and shareholder value-based management.

He has served as the co-editor for the Journal of Financial Research and as the editor of The Journal of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Finance. He is the co-author of two leading corporate finance textbooks, Basic Financial Management and Foundations of Finance, and a widely used text, Small Business Management. He also has co-authored a book, Value-Based Management: Corporate America's Response to the Shareholder Revolution.

Petty has served as a subject matter expert on a best-practices study by the American Productivity and Quality Center on shareholder value-based management. He served on a research team for the Australian Department of Industry to study the feasibility of establishing a public equity market for small- and medium-sized enterprises in Australia. Petty also serves on the board of directors of Harken Energy Corp., a publicly traded oil and gas firm.

A Pennsylvania native, Smith studied for two years at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome before receiving his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Dickinson College in 1981. He earned a master's degree from the University of Vermont in 1983 and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. Smith's teaching career began at Vermont, followed by appointments at Penn and Rutgers University, where he was an assistant professor from 1990-94. He joined the Baylor classics faculty in 1994 and has served as chair of the classics department since 1999 and director of the University Scholars program since 2000. He also serves as director of the Baylor in Italy summer study-abroad program. He was named director of the honors program and associate dean in the Honors College in September.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Smith's scholarly interests are in Latin poetry, specifically the poetry of Virgil and Ovid. His books include Poetic Allusion and Poetic Embrace in Ovid and Virgil, published in 1997 by the University of Michigan Press, and The Primacy of Vision in Virgil's Aeneid, which will be published in 2005 by the University of Texas Press.

Smith has been the recipient of several teaching awards, including the American Philological Association's Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics (2003), the Sonny and Virginia Wallace Award for Outstanding Teaching (2001), Baylor Honors Program Professor of the Year (2000), Sigma Chi Award for Outstanding Instructor at Rutgers (1992) and the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching at Pennsylvania (1986).

A Baylor alumnus with a bachelor's and master's degree in business, Thomas received his doctorate from the University of Texas. He joined the Baylor faculty in 1971 after working as an accountant with the firms KPMG LLP, and BDO Siedman LLP.

Thomas' scholarly work focuses on fraud prevention and detection, as well as ethical issues among accountants in public practice. He serves as both the technical editor and the accounting and auditing editor of Today's CPA, the journal of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

He is the author of a textbook in auditing, as well as many articles in auditing, financial accounting and reporting, taxation and accounting education. His article, "The Rise and Fall of Enron," was selected by Encyclopaedia Britannica for inclusion in its online version of Annals of America, a 22-volume collection of primary documents covering various subjects and perspectives in American history.

In 2003, Thomas was elected by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants as the Outstanding Educator in Texas. He has developed a nationally renowned Intensive CPA Examination Review Course, and regularly teaches the auditing and taxation components of that course to CPA candidates across Texas. Thomas also has served as an expert witness on several occasions in accounting malpractice cases.

He is a member of the American Accounting Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Prior to joining the Baylor faculty in 1990, Underwood practiced civil trial law with Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal in Dallas. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was a member of the board of editors of the University of Illinois Law Review, graduated at the top of his class, and was a member of the Order of the Coif. Following graduation from law school, Underwood completed a prestigious federal judicial clerkship with the Honorable Sam D. Johnson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, and has served as Reporter to the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

He has published extensively in the field of civil practice and procedure, including articles that have led to significant changes in federal and state procedural law. A high profile courtroom lawyer, he continues to successfully represent clients in a variety of civil and criminal cases. Underwood also has represented Baylor in proceedings before the NCAA Committee on Infractions and was a member of and spokesperson for a committee that recently spearheaded an investigation into allegations of misconduct arising out of the death of men's basketball player Patrick Dennehy.

 

At Baylor, Underwood directs the Practice Court program, which was recently described by the Princeton Review as  "arguably the best training ground in the nation for practical lawyering."

The first of Baylor's 16 Master Teachers - Professor Robert L. Reid, professor emeritus of history, and Professor Ann V. Miller, professor of English - were appointed in 1982. In July 1990, Dr. Emerson O. Henke, The J.E. Bush Emeritus Professor of Accounting; Angus S. McSwain Jr., professor emeritus of law; Dr. Robert G. Packard, professor emeritus of physics; and Dr. James W. Parsons, professor of accounting, were honored with the Master Teacher designation.

Eight professors were appointed in June 1993: Dr. Robert M. Baird, chair and professor of philosophy; Dr. Jochem F. Burckhardt, professor of German; Tommye Lou Davis, associate professor of classics and special assistant to the president; David W. Guinn, professor of law and The Louise L. Morrison Professor of Constitutional Law; Dr. Roger E. Kirk, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Statistics; Dr. Harold W. Osborne, professor emeritus of sociology; Dr. David E. Pennington, professor of chemistry; and Dr. James W. Vardaman, professor emeritus of history.

Last year, Dr. F. Ray Wilson II, professor of biology, and Dr. Helen H. Ligon, professor emeritus of information systems, were selected for the honor. Parsons, Burckhardt, Wilson and Ligon are now deceased.

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