Ramon Fernandez: A Career that All Adds Up!
Retiring from the University of St. Thomas after 41 years, Professor Ramon Fernandez ’79 is not ready to stop crunching numbers. After all, it is his life’s work.
Fernandez earned a B.A. in Accounting and Business Administration from UST in 1979 and earned an MBA in Accounting from the University of Houston.
His career at UST began as an adjunct in 1982; he became a full-time professor in 1983 at the Cameron School of Business. Over the years, he earned prestigious initials after his name, CPA, CMA, CIA, and CFP.
Thousands of students benefited from his knowledge, which accounts for his cult following.
What a ride! For Fernandez, he said he is most proud during his tenure of three top accomplishments.
- “Turning students on to accounting as a career and watching thousands of UST accounting graduates over my 40 years go up the ladder. Many UST accounting graduates are now partners at accounting firms, CEOs, and CFOs and they started their accounting careers in my Principles of Accounting course!”
- “During my time as chair of the Accounting Department (1992-1996), we launched the M.S. Accounting program, which is still going strong 30 years later. A few years before that, we had launched the joint BBA/MBA program in accounting, which in the late 80s was a truly innovative idea. The UST joint undergrad/grad programs started in the UST Accounting Department!”
- “The VITA (volunteer income tax assistance) program at UST, where I served as coordinator and manager for 30 years, began my first year as a full-time faculty member. Many accounting graduates will remember our VITA sites at the Carnegie Library and the YMCA on Cavalcade. For this program, I received two significant awards: In 1993, the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service and in 2007 I was the President George H.W. Bush Point of Light recipient.”
Dr. John Leavins, a colleague in the Accounting Department and current chair, says, “Professor Fernandez’s contributions to UST, the Cameron School of Business, and the Accounting Program are remarkable. He is one of the best instructors I have ever had the pleasure of working with in my years of teaching. He has a reputation of being fair and demanding, yet able to make complex accounting topics interesting and understandable.”
Leavens continues, “He was instrumental in establishing the foundation for the accounting program and implementing our master’s level degrees. Professor Fernandez devoted countless hours to running the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program, raising scholarship funds, taking students to national competitions, serving as faculty advisor to the Professional Accounting Society, and engaging in other University activities too numerous to mention.”
Lastly, Leavins applauds his service. “In addition, he has made significant contributions to the accounting profession through his participation in the Texas Society of CPAs and the local Houston CPA Society.
“The Accounting Department could not have asked for a better colleague, and we wish him a long, happy, and prosperous retirement,” he said.
After retirement, Fernandez plans to stay in Houston, where his family – mother, sister, niece, nephew, and friends live. At 65, he says, “I am slowing down but not ready to ride into the sunset. I think I have a few years left.”
Fernandez plans to continue his tax practice for people who seek his accounting expertise.