By Matthew Biddle
Before he died in 2020, Keith Stolzenburg was a loyal alumnus and a respected colleague who served as executive in residence for accounting in the School of Management. One of his greatest joys, though, was his role as a trusted mentor who guided countless students with sage advice and a dash of humor as they prepared to join the accounting profession.
That’s why his wife, Rosanne, and their children, Anna and Eric, chose to honor his legacy by establishing the Keith M. Stolzenburg Fellowship for students in the school’s Master of Science in Accounting program. After his passing, more than 250 alumni and friends also contributed to the fellowship fund — a testament to the considerable impact Stolzenburg made on their lives and careers.
“It was a huge honor,” says Katie Kriner, BS ’21, MS ’22, who was selected as the inaugural fellow for the 2021-22 academic year. “I’ve heard a lot of stories about Mr. Stolzenburg from my professors and his wife, Rosanne, and he sounds like an amazing person who gave back so much to his students. He’s a role model for me. It’s really special to be able to carry on his legacy in this way.”
In addition to academic excellence, fellows must demonstrate high ethical standards, significant community service and leadership qualities — all attributes that were important to Stolzenburg in his life, too.
As a student, Kriner served as vice president of committees for the UB Accounting Association, helping to develop a student mentorship program and initiating a food drive that the club continues to run today. In addition, Kriner grew up figure skating and spent several years volunteering for her skating club, including a term as president of its junior board.
“Leadership and service are foundational beliefs of mine,” she says. “It’s important to not only work hard and be successful, but also to give back to your community and share the wealth with people.”
Adam Wyckoff, BS ’22, agrees. A current MS Accounting student, Wyckoff was selected to receive the Stolzenburg Fellowship for the 2022-23 academic year.
Last year, he served as president of the UB Accounting Association and, among other accomplishments, organized the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program’s return to campus after more than a year on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The VITA program proved successful, and Wyckoff is heading up the effort again for 2023.
“Keith was always trying to be someone you can lean on, an all-around good guy,” Wyckoff says. “Now, Katie and I are trying to live through that model to be all-around good people and help people where we can.”
For Wyckoff — a non-traditional, first-generation student — the fellowship took on extra significance, as he strives to set an example for his 3-year-old daughter.
“The impact is bigger than just me,” he says of the award. “It’s about the future of my family, which is the most important thing. Rosanne’s family provided my family the stepping stone we needed, and I’ll be forever appreciative of that.”
By providing them with financial assistance and a lifelong network, the fellowship helped to set Kriner and Wyckoff up for career success. Kriner recently passed her CPA exam and serves as a staff accountant at Brock, Schechter & Polakoff LLP in Buffalo. Wyckoff, meanwhile, will join PwC after commencement and hopes to earn his CPA and Certified Internal Auditor credentials soon. Long term, both hope to return to the School of Management to teach someday.
Going forward, the school’s Accounting and Law Department plans to host events periodically so the fellows can connect with one another and keep in touch with the Stolzenburg family.
“We have our own exclusive club — something that brings us together as a group with the same core principles,” Wyckoff says. “Keith’s memory lives on through us.”
Gifts to the Keith M. Stolzenburg Fellowship Fund can be made at buffalo.edu/giving/stolzenburg.