5 questions with…Distinguished University Professor, accountancy influencer Gary Previts

When the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants recently identified the most influential leaders in its 125-year history, it selected one of Case Western Reserve’s own: Distinguished University Professor Gary Previts.

But this certainly wasn’t the first time Previts, chair of the accountancy faculty in the Weatherhead School of Management, was recognized for his influence on the accountancy world. Over the years he’s earned honors such the Gold Medal for Service from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Accounting Association’s Outstanding Educator award, and election to the prestigious Accounting Hall of Fame at The Ohio State University.

His prominence in the field has been spurred by his research on the development of accounting thought and institutions and on regulation of accounting disclosures, as well as his numerous academic and professional activities. Previts, who was appointed to the Weatherhead School of Management faculty in 1979, is the E. Mandell de Windt Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development. He has served as president of the American Accounting Association and of The Ohio Society of CPAs and also as the founding president of the Academy of Accounting Historians. He also co-authored A History of Accountancy in the United States, which was published in his first year at Case Western Reserve and then updated again in 1998. He is the founding editor of Research in Accounting Regulation (Elsevier), which is in its third decade of publication.

But even with all of these honors, there’s one accomplishment that stands out most in Previts’ long list. Find out what it is—and much more.

1. What superpower would you most like to have?
Unfailing wisdom.

2. What’s your favorite place to dine in Cleveland?
Joe’s Deli in Rocky River—their brand-new facilities make it even better.

3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be happy…and useful. I know [I was probably supposed to say] a career but, well, that’s what it is.

4. What accomplishments are you most proud of—personally and professionally?
Being a parent and being a professor. A very sage college president once advised, “Be who you say you are!” I’m not a perfect person in either role, but I care about ‘being’ a parent and a professor.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve University?
[Its location in] Cleveland. I love the change of seasons and the type of individuals who relish living in this climate. Not that I don’t gripe about weather and our city’s challenges from time to time—who doesn’t? To live happily in Cleveland your DNA has to read “industrial strength.”

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