Go back

Fortner surprised with scholarship named in his honor

Dr. Wesley Fortner, professor emeritus of accounting at APSU, received an early holiday surprise as family, friends, former students and colleagues gathered Dec. 15 to announce the establishment of the Dr. Wesley O. Fortner Jr. Accounting Endowment Scholarship.

Fortner, who served as a professor at APSU from 1983 to May 2004, was visibly moved as he entered the room and saw the gathering of familiar faces. The overflowing lobby caused one guest to remark: We should have had this in an auditorium.
Dr. Wesley Fortner, professor emeritus of accounting at APSU, received an early holiday surprise as family, friends, former students and colleagues gathered Dec. 15 to announce the establishment of the Dr. Wesley O. Fortner Jr. Accounting Endowment Scholarship.

Fortner, who served as a professor at APSU from 1983 to May 2004, was visibly moved as he entered the room and saw the gathering of familiar faces. The overflowing lobby caused one guest to remark: “We should have had this in an auditorium.”

In his opening remarks, Brad Withrow, an accounting partner with Ernst and Young LLP, Nashville, and former student of Fortner, thanked his mentor for “helping us get it right” and taking an interest in his students' individual careers.

Withrow and Arun Subhas, also of Ernst and Young, spearheaded the effort to establish the scholarship.

Subhas said that one of the defining moments of his life came when Fortner encouraged him to pursue a major in accounting. “How do you thank someone like that? You try to be a mentor for other people and take care of them,” he said. Then he announced the establishment of the scholarship, which will provide $500 annually to a promising accounting major.

Turning to Fortner, he added, “We're very bullish about where we're going with the endowment, and we hope we can live up to your expectations.”

As several people came forward to pay tribute to Fortner, more and more were inspired to share their stories of the man “whose students came first in his work and in his mind.”

Jeff Edmondson, CPA, paid tribute to his former teacher, whom he called “man of the highest dedication to his work, a man of great integrity, optimism and generosity.”

“I don't remember ever hearing a negative comment from Dr. Fortner,” said Edmonson. “Even after one of my classes really didn't do well on a test, he just came in and said the results were ‘less than 100 percent.'”

Colleagues honored Fortner for being the one who encouraged them to pursue their doctorates, former students thanked him for guiding them into the accounting field, and Professor Emeritus of Accounting Joyce Kirkpatrick praised him for “inspiring me to work a little harder for students.”

Withrow presented Fortner with framed portrait of the Kimbrough Building.

After the presentation, Fortner joked to the group that he could “ask some accounting questions.” Then he said he had “one bank account that surpassed any FDIC guarantee.”

What was this spectacular account? His memory bank, which he said was “overflowing.”

“Thank you for a wonderful 21 years at APSU,” he said. “I always will remember this day.”

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Dr. Wesley O. Fortner Jr. Accounting Endowment Scholarship, send your gift to University Advancement, APSU, P.O. Box 4417, Clarksville, TN 37044.

For more information on the scholarship, telephone Sharon Silva at (931) 221-7127.
—Rebecca Mackey