The University of Nebraska–Lincoln School of Accountancy inducted three new members into their Hall of Fame at the annual Celebration of Excellence held in the Henrickson Family Atrium at Howard L. Hawks Hall on October 5. Inductees included Dr. James F. Brown, Jr., professor emeritus of the School of Accountancy, Tonn M. Ostergard, CEO and chairman of Crete Carrier Corporation and Sue Wilkinson, senior vice president and CFO at Ameritas. All three inductees received praise for their years of service to the School.
Brown joined the business faculty in January 1980 and remained at the college for nearly 35 years including leading the Master of Professional Accountancy program from its inception in 1986 until his retirement in 2014. In addition to his research published in a variety of journals, Brown received awards for Beta Alpha Psi Accountant of the Year, University of Nebraska Distinguished Teaching Award and Alumni Association of the College of Business Distinguished Faculty Award. He also served in the community in many organizations including time as president of the Nebraska Cornhusker Chapter of the National Association of Accountants and as national director of the Institute of Management Accountants.
After receiving his Ph.D. in Tennessee, Brown took his first major teaching job at Nebraska and never looked back. He remarked working with fellow faculty, staff and students at Nebraska made his work satisfying.
“I did something I loved for 35 years and enjoyed every bit of it,” said Brown. “I’m deeply honored and surprised how people remember the contributions I made and respect my work so much. I had the opportunity to advise and guide a lot of young lives through the MPA and Ph.D. programs. It made a difference in my life and hopefully those I helped direct. I take great pride in my work with accounting students.”
Ostergard leads over 6,000 associates at Crete Carrier. He served as chairman for the Nebraska Trucking Association in 1995-96, and serves as a member and director of the American Trucking Associations and Truckload Carriers Association.
Prior to joining Crete Carrier, he spent five years in public accounting working for KPMG. He served as chair of the University of Nebraska Foundation and on boards for both the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. He chaired the Capital Campaign Committee in 2008, which later expanded to include the new College of Business building project. In 1991, he received the Alumni Leadership Award from the College of Business, and in 1994 was honored with the University of Nebraska Young Alumnus Award. Ostergard also received the Business Leadership Award from the College of Business in 2015. He received his undergraduate degree from Nebraska in 1981 and completed the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program in 1991.
“It’s a huge honor and makes me feel a tremendous amount of gratification toward my professors who were so influential and formative in my personal and professional development. The School of Accountancy does wonderful work and the quality of the master's program is nationally recognized. I believe having that accounting degree provides the basic competency vital to the success of anyone pursuing a business career, and I know I benefited greatly from getting my degree at Nebraska,” said Ostergard.
Wilkinson, a member of the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board, handled duties in many roles during her more than 20-year career at Ameritas, including cost accounting, budgeting, annual planning, project management, communications and community relations and risk management. She spent five years as an auditor with Deloitte & Touche specializing in insurance before her time at Ameritas. She is active in the Lincoln community and currently serves on the Bryan College of Health Sciences Board, the Pius X Board of Advisors and the University of Nebraska Foundation Audit Committee. A native of Petersburg, Nebraska, she graduated with a degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Nebraska in 1990.
“It means a lot to me to be inducted in the School of Accountancy Hall of Fame,” said Wilkinson. “My career has been wonderful and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the education I received from the School of Accountancy and all the terrific professors I met along the way. I love giving back through my work, formerly on the School of Accountancy Advisory Board and now on the Dean’s Advisory Board. It’s very satisfying to see the results of our recruitment of new professors in recent years which has made a great teaching base even better.”