Business and accounting students receive top honors

Furman University’s business and accounting department recently honored five students—three seniors and two juniors—with awards for their academic achievements.

Senior Will Crooks received the Fred and June Current Accounting Award. Hayley Frost and Hunter Burton, also seniors, received the General Excellence in Business award. Juniors Heather Gillespie and Alex Brink received the Larry Kessler Award.

The Current Accounting Award, given in honor of Professor Fred Current, a Furman accounting professor from 1979 until he retired in 1999, is presented to an outstanding graduating senior with a major in accounting who has shown high academic achievement, who has demonstrated leadership in the Furman Accounting Society and who has participated in other campus organizations.

Crooks, who also received the accounting award last year, said the award is recognition of a lot of work.

“It’s not for a single moment. It’s an accumulation of a lot of moments and years of work,” he said. When he won the award last year, it was “humongous” and receiving the award two times “is a really big honor.”

He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior and has participated with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which provides free tax return preparation for low-income taxpayers in Greenville County. He also has a street photography business and recently created a six page fashion spread in Town magazine.

The Greenville resident said he began Furman in a pre-law program but decided he wanted something more substantive. When he took his first accounting class, he realized he enjoyed it and was good at it.

After an internship this summer at Elliott Davis in Greenville, he plans to attend Clemson University for his Masters of Accountancy. Eventually, he’d like to work in estate planning on the tax side and later establish his own business.

The General Excellence in Business award is presented a graduating senior business major who has exceptionally strong academic achievement, a proven work ethic, leadership ability and well-diversity extracurricular activities.

“It was very humbling,” Burton said of receiving the award. “I’ve always been the kind of person who’s given 110 percent to everything I’ve been involved in. Hard work does pay off.”

He said the award will be helpful in many ways—on his resume, as a talking point in interviews and as a networking tool with previous winners.

The starting shortstop on the Furman baseball team has been named to the Southern Conference Academic All-Conference Team and volunteers in the community, coaches with Ron Smith’s baseball camps.

Burton, who is from Belton, said he’s still searching for a job, preferably in the financial services field. Last year, he interned with Northwest Mutual, an insurance and investment firm in Greenville. But he said there’s still a possibility that he might spend some time in playing baseball at a higher level.

Frost, who came to Furman from St. Louis, said she made the decision to come to Furman after a campus visit where she felt the friendly vibes.

The award “felt like all my hard work had paid off,” she said. “I tend to push myself academically.”

The double major in business administration and French, now has a job with Epic Systems, a software company in Madison, Wis., as a project manager/implementation consultant. She will work with large healthcare providers with their software.

“It is a cool company,” she said.

Frost, who was a Furman cheerleader for two years and is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, interned at the Fondation  Maeghtin St. Paul de Vence in France last summer. The museum internship was the result of her winning the Elaine Duffy Childers scholarship.  She spent a semester studying in Versailles, France. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and has been on the Dean’s List for seven semesters.

The Lawrence Kessler Award for excellence in Accounting is given in memory of Larry Kessler, accounting professor at Furman from 1980 to 2005. The award is given annually to a rising senior to offset the recipient’s education expenses and is presented to a student with superior academic performance, integrity and a proven work ethic.

Brink, a junior from Nashville, TN, has been named the Furman PanHellenic Emerging Leader of the Year and is the vice president of finance for the Furman PanHellenic Council and the events coordinator for the Furman Student Alumni Council. She also volunteers with the VITA program and plans to attend graduate school and become a Certified Professional Accountant. Brink has a 4.0 GPA in her major.

Gillespie, a junior from Lexington, is on the finance committee of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and is the CFO for Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow. She helps keep track of vital statistics for the football, baseball, basketball, golf, softball and lacrosse teams.  She spent last summer as a customer, distribution and marketing intern with Zurich North America in New York City. She plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in public accounting.