KPMG pledges $75,000 for NMSU accounting chair

May 12, 2014 by Amanda Bradford, NMSU News Center

KPMG, one of the Big Four global professional services firms, has pledged support for New Mexico State University’s effort to honor an admired accounting professor with an endowed chair in his name.

Partners and employees of KPMG have announced plans to contribute a total of $75,000 to the Lionel Haight Accounting Professorship to help reach the goal of turning the professorship into a $1 million endowed chair.

The professorship in honor of Haight, a former NMSU professor and head of the accounting department, who died in 1998, was established in 2010 with a $250,000 contribution from one of Haight’s former students, Judy Gray Johnson, and her husband, Michael. Judy Johnson attended NMSU from 1969 to 1972, majoring in accounting, and found Haight to be a demanding but supportive teacher who had a significant impact on students.

Johnson pledged an additional $100,000 in the fall of 2011 to match contributions to the accounting professorship, with a goal of establishing a $1 million, fully endowed chair. The first $100,000 goal has been met, prompting a second $100,000 pledge from Johnson, and the fundraising campaign is more than halfway to the million-dollar goal for establishing the chair.

To date, the Lionel Haight Accounting Professorship has secured cash contributions totaling $571,400, with an additional $157,500 in pledged contributions.

“A number of our KPMG partners and professionals are proud alumni of NMSU and that’s why we are very pleased, along with the KPMG Foundation, to fund this endowment and make a permanent impact on the Accounting and Information Systems Department,” said Cynthia Reinhart, managing partner in KPMG’s Albuquerque office. “KPMG believes in giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and in this case, we believe a professorship can open doors for the future leaders of our profession.”

Accounting Department Head Kevin Melendrez said KPMG’s New Mexico office consistently supports the NMSU accounting programs as a recruiter for full-time jobs and internships and by participating in professional development activities with the students.

“KPMG’s pledge to support the Haight Endowed Chair reaffirms their commitment to continue the partnership between KPMG and the department,” Melendrez said. “The faculty truly appreciates their support.”

Interim Dean Kathy Brook said the endowed chair – the sixth in the College of Business – would enhance the school’s ability to attract and retain top faculty members.

“Given the availability of jobs in the private sector, it’s challenging to attract accountants with doctoral degrees into academia,” Brook said. “Having an endowed chair will help us surmount that barrier, to the benefit of our students.”

For more information on the Johnsons’ second $100,000 challenge, contact Anthony Casaus at 575-646-5817 or To make a secure online gift directly to this endowment, visit

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