Enriched beyond measure

Three retiring faculty members leave a legacy through the alumni and students they’ve supported

Ann Burstein Cohen.

After more than 50 years in the School of Management between them, three respected accounting professors retired this spring: Ann Cohen, William Kross and Cheryl Hall.

Cohen earned her MBA from the School of Management in 1982, while working as a staff accountant at PwC. A few promotions later, Cohen returned to her alma mater as an accounting faculty member—where she’s been ever since. She was promoted to clinical associate professor of accounting and law in 1999, and served as director of the school’s MS in Accounting program for more than 15 years.

Along the way, Cohen taught undergraduate and graduate courses in various areas of taxation, and chaired the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession program, a joint offering between UB and the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA) that introduced minority students to accounting careers. She has been deeply involved in the NYSSCPA Buffalo Chapter, served on the School of Management Alumni Association board, and published and presented on taxation matters.

“I’ll never forget my first day taking Professor Cohen's ‘Introduction to Tax’ class. I don't know if it was something in the air, but I walked out knowing that tax was in my future,” says Sergio Gangarossa, BS ’13, MS ’14, tax manager at EY.

“Professor Cohen is more than a teacher—she is a mentor, an advocate and a friend,” he continues. “If you’ve ever taken her class, you know her tagline response when asked if something was taxable: ‘Are you enriched? Is it measurable?’ They say there’s a lot of gray area in tax, and having had the opportunity to learn from Professor Cohen, I can say that it is more likely than not that I was enriched beyond measure.”

William Kross.

Kross joined the School of Management as professor of accounting in 2007 and served as associate dean for research for several years. Throughout his career, Kross has mentored countless researchers, chairing more than a dozen doctoral students’ dissertation committees. In addition, he has published more than 20 studies in peer-reviewed journals on such topics as CEO compensation, regulation fair disclosure and financial forecasting.

“I had an opportunity to take Professor Kross’ research methodology course, which opened my eyes to accounting research,” says Seung Won Lee, PhD ’15, assistant professor of accounting at Penn State Harrisburg. Lee first met Kross as an MBA student at Purdue, where Kross taught for more than 20 years, and later worked with him as a doctoral student in the UB School of Management. “I was honored to publish our co-authored paper, ‘CEO Turnover and Accounting Earnings: The Role of Earnings Persistence,’ with Professor Kross and Professor Inho Suk at a premium journal, Management Science. I wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement.”

Cheryl Hall.

Before she joined the faculty, Hall earned her MBA from the School of Management in 1990 and was named Accountant of the Year by the department in 2015. The alumna spent 25 years as tax director at PwC, working with multinational corporations and high-net-worth individuals on tax consulting, compliable and accounting for income taxes. Afterward, she came on board as a clinical assistant professor of accounting and law, teaching courses in taxation and financial accounting and serving as faculty advisor for the UB Accounting Association (UBAA).

“Professor Hall walked me through the ins and outs of being president during this pandemic year, when it was much harder to communicate and learn,” says Patrick Shanks, BS ’21, MS ’22, who served as UBAA president for 2020-21. “At times, she allowed me to learn things on my own, but would also help me build on what I experienced through an event or running a meeting. While doing so, she always gave me great advice about my future career and problem-solving, and helped me grow into a better leader and professional.”