Accounting professor closes the books on 37-year career at Marietta

Before Ed Osborne can make the transition to emeritus professor, he has one final assignment.

"In a moment of weakness I agreed to complete the department assessment report so the new chair of the department, Jim Falter, wouldn't be burdened with it. So I have until June 30 to get it done," he said.

Osborne's departure as a McCoy Professor of Accounting in the Marcus and Mindel Vershok Brachman Department of Economics, Management and Accounting marks a true end of an era. Osborne, who joined the faculty in the fall of 1971, is one of the final links to the highly regarded leadership trio of Frank Cheng, Bert Glaze and Jack Prince.

"I'm honored to be included in that group," he said. "My wife (Karen) and I decided this was the right time for me to do this. I still feel young. I'm healthy and there are lots of other things I want to do. Plus, this is the age that the United States Government says I should retire."

There are no real surprises on his modest retirement to-do list - read more books, travel the world and take as many photographs as he can, especially of his 1-month-old granddaughter, Adelaide.

It's what is on top of Osborne's list that may be a bit surprising. "I will be in Luding Tong's Chinese class in the fall. I would like to focus on learning the Chinese language so I'll be better prepared when I go to our sister institution, Southwest University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China, in 2009."

Osborne was a visiting professor at Southwest University on four occasions. He has lectured in Thailand and received a fellowship to do work in Hungary. He also plans to visit other Marietta sister schools, along with Karen, such as Piracicaba Methodist University (UNIMEP) in Brazil.

Prior to arriving in Marietta, Osborne was a senior auditor with the Chicago office of Arthur Andersen & Co. from 1965 to 1971. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting (1964) and a Master of Business Administration (1965), both from Indiana University.

During his more than three-decade run at Marietta College, Osborne played a role in helping more than 800 accounting majors. He also taught thousands of students in courses such as managerial and financial accounting and federal income tax.

"I also worked for five presidents and nine provosts at Marietta," he said.

He developed many lasting relationships, including one with Tim Cooper '73. Osborne mentored Cooper and assisted him in getting his first job with Arthur Andersen. "That's a relationship that I have maintained over the years and he is one of the many students who have made me very proud and remind me of what an honor it is to do this job."

Osborne also has influenced many of the faculty at the College, including psychology professor Dr. Mark Sibicky and economics professor Greg Delemeester.

"Over the years, Ed has been a true friend and mentor to me. There was only a few faculty hired at the College in 1990 when I arrived on campus fresh out of graduate school," Sibicky said. "Although all the faculty were very welcoming, Ed went out of his way to help me learn the ropes. Over the years I have learned so much from him ranging from teaching and advising, to how to do what you need to do to get tenured and promoted at Marietta.

"Ed also taught me that it's possible as well as intellectually stimulating to do collaborative research with someone outside your discipline. One year we worked together on a research project investigating social stereotypes of accountants. Ed presented the research findings to groups of accountants while I presented the study to psychologists."

Delemeester added, "My lasting impression of Ed is his particularly droll sense of humor. On more than one occasion he has pointed out to me that 'an economist is someone who didn't have enough personality to be an accountant.' Ouch! Such humor has endeared Ed to his colleagues and students, both past and present."

Osborne has also served on many local boards and volunteered many hours. He is currently a member of Marietta Memorial Hospital's Board of Directors and was honored with the Marietta Community Leadership Award in 2003 for his volunteer work.

"I've been through a lot of high moments and low moments for the College," Osborne said. "I believe I'm leaving at a time when it is at it's highest. President Jean Scott and the former provost Sue DeWine have rejuvenated this place. The College is growing and people are really seeing how bright the future can be and they are doing that by donating to the College. I feel like I'm leaving at the top of my game and the College is at the top of its game."

Two other Marietta employees retiring this year join him. Dr. David Mader, who started in 1985, was a professor in computer science, and David Lane, who joined the College in 1993, was the associate director of physical plant. The trio combined for 75 years of service to the College.