Pioneering faculty member Thomas Turner dies

In Memory Tom Turner
Friday, February 23, 2018

Emeritus faculty member Thomas Turner, who helped establish the accounting department at UNC Charlotte and remained dedicated to the University throughout his life, died Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the age of 88.

When he arrived at the University in fall 1966, Turner assembled a team of professors who shared his commitment to teaching excellence and service to students. During his 25-year tenure at the University, Turner helped oversee the maturation of the accounting department into the School of Accountancy that now bears his name. He retired in 1991, but remained a strong supporter of the University.

Accounting alumni helped establish the Tom Turner Teaching Award in the early 1990s after Turner retired. In 2014, more than 150 alumni and friends contributed almost $240,000 to create an endowed scholarship to support undergraduate accounting students, provide increased funds for the Thomas C. Turner Excellence in Teaching Award, and support the major renovation of the Department of Accounting conference room named in Turner's honor.

In 2016, Turner donated $2.5 million to the University’s EXPONENTIAL: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte to provide scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing accounting degrees.

His gift reflected his passions for teaching and mentoring students during his years of leadership, said Steven Ott, dean of the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte.

“Tom Turner was instrumental in founding a culture in the department. He hired dedicated professors that were especially good at teaching. But he also connected the Accounting Department with industry, creating deep connections with accounting firms. The dedication to teaching and the connections with accounting firms are still strong today because of his influence years ago,” Ott said. “The Belk College honors Tom’s dedication and his memory.”

Read more at the Belk College of Business.


A memorial service and celebration of Turner's life is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 14, at the Popp Martin Student Union (RSVPs requested by March 9). A reception will follow the service. Burial will be private. Donations in Turner’s memory can be made to the UNC Charlotte Turner School of Accountancy Endowed Fund.

Click here to read his obituary published in the Charlotte Observer.