This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.
This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be
For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Interviewee: Williard Stone
Interviewer: Samuel Proctor
March 30, 1993
Williard Stone begins the interview by giving information on his family history, early
education and childhood. He attended Pennsylvania State University to study
mathematics and English literature, got married and first worked in a local store as
assistant manager, then took a job with the Liquor Control Board of Pennsylvania,
where he worked as an accountant. During World War II, he worked for the General
Accounting Office as principal accounting auditor (pages 1-9). He talks about his
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, then resumes his discussion about his
career. He attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania after the war
and received his master's degree, then went on to get his Ph.D. He taught at Wharton
and at Drexel University night school (pages 9-13).
Stone came to the University of Florida as a full professor and he talks about why he
liked Gainesville. He describes the department and the program at Florida as well as
the town of Gainesville (pages 13-16). He describes his role as chairman of the
department and as professor of accounting, and evaluates the strength of the
department. He talks about his previous job as assistant to the president with Rolly
Manufacturing Company during the war. Stone describes the consulting work he did for
firms while he was at Florida. He also worked as an editor for Chilton Company which
became Holt, Rhinehart & Winston and as an editor for Management Services
magazine. He worked with the Duval County Sheriff's office when they merged the city
and county, training them in management (pages 16-21). He explains the philosophy
behind setting up a separate school of accounting. He talks about the recruiting of
students by national and local accounting firms and the relationship with Cliff Beasley at
the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He talks about Robert Lanzillotti
and his objection to a separate school of accounting. He analyzes the good an bad
things about separating accounting schools and the benefit of general education in the
humanities and speaks of the curriculum in general (pages 21-27). He gives a
description of the process of creating a separate accounting school at Florida and talks
of his role in the new school (pages 28-30). He talks about the financial backing by
former students and accounting firms and the vision of John Simmons. He talks about
fund raising and the Foundation (pages 30-34).
Stone also was involved with the Graduate Council, the University of Florida Press and
Bill Haynes. He describes his relationship to students and faculty. He evaluates the
success of the separation of the school of accounting. Stone mentions the writing he
has done for publication (pages 34-39). He describes his leisure activities, particularly
travel, and attempts to develop programs with schools in other countries and states. He
lastly talks some about his continuing relationship with the school and reflects on his
accomplishments (pages 39-44).
P: [This is Sam Proctor, and] this is an interview here in my office at the Florida
Museum [of Natural History] with Dr. Williard Stone. This is March 30 . We
are doing this in connection with the oral history project relating to the Fisher School
of Accounting. I want to start off, Williard, if I may, by asking you your full name
and your date of birth.
S: My full name is Williard Everard Stone. I was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania,
on August 28, 1910.
P: Is Everard a family name?
S: No. I think my mother got it from a French novel.
P: Williard is a family name?
S: It has an extra i, and it goes back to the 1820s when William Stone married Abigail
P: Let us go all the way back to that early marriage. Where did your family, come
from, the Stone family?
S: The male, Theodore Williard Stone, came from Gloucester [City], New Jersey. [He]
P: So the origin of the family was the British Isles.
S: I have not been able to trace [the family] back to the British Isles, but I know that
it was English. My mother's was Irish, and her father was Scotch.
P: What was her name?
S: Blanche Patton.
P: Where was she from?
S: She was born in Philadelphia. My father was [also] born in Philadelphia.
P: What was your father's name?
S: Theodore Williard Stone, Jr.
P: What business was your father in?
S: He was a contractor, builder, and carpenter in Philadelphia.
P: Do you know anything about the progenitors of your mother, the Patton family?
S: Very little, actually. I do not know when they came to the United States, but she was
born here. I have not been able to trace back that branch of the family.
P: Are you an only child?
S: Yes. [I was] spoiled.
P: So you were born in 1910 in Germantown. What is its relationship to Philadelphia?
S: It is a suburb of Philadelphia.
P: Was this a comfortable family? [Were you] middle class?
S: [We were] definitely middle class. My grandfather was reasonably wealthy for the
time. My father never became very wealthy, but we were a comfortable, middle-class
P: Tell me a little bit about your early childhood. Where did you go to school?
S: Well, I went to school in Germantown, of course. When I was eight years old we
moved to Olney, Philadelphia, which is north Philadelphia. There I went to school
through the eighth grade, and then I went to Frankfurt High School in Philadelphia
for one year. I then went for three years to Westtown Boarding School, a Friends'
school near West Chester, Pennsylvania.
P: Why [did you go] there? Why a boarding school?
S: That was because I wanted that. I liked the idea of a boarding school. My cousin
was there, and it was a wonderful school.
P: Were you a good student, Williard, growing up?
S: Yes, I was always a pretty good student.
P: What were your academic interests?
S: [I liked] history. I thought back then that mathematics was, but I found out later that
I did not have a first-class mathematical mind, so I dropped out of that in college.
I did go through as a math major to my AB degree, but I never did anything further
with it. I read a lot; I was a very avid reader.
P: Did you live in a family where there were lots of books and [where] that kind of
activity was encouraged?
S: Yes, mother and father both read some. I do not think they were great readers. I
read through the local Philadelphia library. I started at one end and just read
through the library. I would just go in and take out an armload of books about every
week. I read very avidly.
P: What about sports?
S: Well, I never amounted to too much in sports. However, I swam at the Westtown
School. Through a very peculiar circumstance I have a record that has never been
broken in the Westtown pool. I swam the dash and broke the school record in a
meet with Girard College. Shortly after that they ripped the pool apart and put in
a bigger pool. So the record was never broken. I do not remember the number of
feet, but it was a very small pool. So no one ever had the chance to break the
P: Your claim to fame. [laughter]
S: And when my children went there--my three boys all went to Westtown--they were
very impressed with my swimming record. [laughter]
P: Tell me about growing up in a one-child family.
S: I was a gangly kid. I was not very athletic and not very good at teamwork. I read
so much. I was really somewhat of a loner.
P: Was this a religious family?
S: Several. My mother was basically first a Methodist. My father was first a
Presbyterian--or an Episcopalian. I am not sure which. I broke off. I did not like
either one of them, and I became a Quaker by myself. My mother and my father did
not. Basically, I think I became a Quaker so I could go to Westtown. But I was a
Quaker for quite a number of years, until we came to Florida. Finally ten years ago
or so I became a Unitarian.
P: What kind of a school was this Westtown?
S: It was a boarding school for boys and girls. It was started in about 1790. It was an
early Friends' school, the first of the Friends' schools in the Philadelphia area. They
were rather strict when I went there. They had no piano, and people were not
allowed to whistle. [laughter]
P: They were not allowed to whistle?
S: No. One boy was suspended for whistling on the sidewalk just before I had gotten
P: You said this was a Quaker school?
S: Yes, it was a Quaker school.
P: And they had this forbidding of music?
S: Well, they just did not appreciate it. But they did get a piano while I was there.
P: I hope they allowed some whistling before you left.
S: No. I could not whistle. [laughter] It did not bother me.
P: But it was good instruction?
S: It was a school that built great loyalties. Their alumni are very loyal. I went from
there to Penn State. I have never had a great deal of loyalty for Penn State, but I
did have loyalty for Westtown. We sent our children [there], and our grandchildren
now go there.
P: Do you get back there for reunions?
S: Not as often as I should. It is a little bit of a trip up there, so I have not been to
P: You elected to go to Pennsylvania State University with a major in mathematics.
S: Math and English lit.
P: Why that school?
S: It was cheaper than the University of Pennsylvania, my hometown college. We had
no money in the family at that time. It was during the Depression, in 1929.
P: You started in 1929, and received a degree in ..
S: 1933. We had no money at all.
P: Had the family lost money in the stock market?
S: Well, my grandmother left me $3,000 to go to college, which would have covered
tuition. But my father would not let me take it to Penn State because of a small
bank. That bank never did fail, but he put it into a big bank, Banker's Trust in
Philadelphia, which did fail. So I got one year out of the $3,000, and the rest went.
From then on, I worked my way through college. My family was not able to help me.
I borrowed some money from Knights Templar Masonic Order, but I mostly worked.
I had five different jobs.
P: Doing what?
S: I announced on the radio station, I was an assistant to an education professor, I
modeled for nude classes.
P: That must have been interesting. [laughter]
S: I was treasurer of the fraternity, which paid for part of my board and lodging.
Finally, I refereed soccer games. Westtown was a great soccer school, and I had
played soccer there. I refereed soccer games around State College in the center of
P: Now, what fraternity were you in?
S: Well, it started out as the Friends Union. The fraternity decided that they did not
like that name, so they changed it to Sigma Phi Alpha, which was a small, national
fraternity. A good old Quaker from Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, where I lived at the
time, was furious. He used to say, Sigma Phi Alpha--signify nothing!" [laughter]
P: You said you were living in Cheltenham?
P: What kind of a student were you in your undergraduate?
S: I was usually on the honor list at Westtown, and I made some of the honor societies.
I missed Phi Beta Kappa because I was in the School of Education, unfortunately,
and did not have the proper courses. But I had the grades to make it.
P: So you were both a mathematics and an English literature major in your
P: What kind of literature did you like then?
S: I read pretty much the entire library. I read novels, of course, but I liked biographies
and history books. I became an amateur archaeologist and read a lot of that.
P: Of course, if you were going to school while working at all of these several jobs, you
were a pretty busy man.
S: I guess I did not read so much in college. [laughter]
P: Were you a social animal?
S: Well, I was courting my wife at Penn State. I was a fraternity member and went to
P: So you met Louise [there]?
S: [Yes], at Penn State.
P: What was her name?
S: Louise Cousins Harder.
P: Is she a Pennsylvanian?
S: No. She was from Buffalo, New York.
P: How did she end up at Pennsylvania State?
S: Her father had graduated from there in 1895, so she went back there. Most of her
family went to Cornell. She thought there would be too many boys at Cornell, [so]
she went to Penn State and found that she was one out of ten. [laughter]
P: What was her major?
S: Home economics.
P: Did she eventually become a teacher?
S: No. She quit school at the end of her sophomore year because of financial
difficulties. We were married a couple of years later.
P: When were you married?
S: May 19, 1934.
P: You graduated in 1933. Did you then immediately go on to graduate school?
P: What did you do once you graduated? This was still the Depression decade.
S: At first I worked in the American Stores where I had worked summers and after
school as a clerk. Finally, I worked my way up to assistant manager.
P: Is this a clothing store?
S: American Store was like an A&P; it was a competitor.
P: So it was groceries.
S: And meat.
P: Not a supermarket like what we have today.
S: No, it was a little local store. I worked there through college every summer. At
graduation in 1933 there were no jobs. I went to the vice-president of the American
Stores in Philadelphia and told him my experience [and that] I needed a job, and he
gave me a job in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, right next door to Cheltenham. The
supervisor and the manager did not like to lose the power over jobs, so I lasted until
I took an examination to work for the Liquor Control Board of Pennsylvania. They
fired me for missing a day's work. Fortunately, I came out fourteenth out of 1,400
people who took the exam, and I got a job right away in 1934.
P: Doing what?
S: I was a junior accountant for the Liquor Control Board of Pennsylvania.
P: Your math background enabled you to take on a job as an accountant?
S: The reason I got the job was because the test was an ordinary intelligence test. I had
never had any accounting courses. I took the exam, and it turned out to be a simple
IQ normal exam that did not have any accounting in it. As an education major in
college, I had given the exam many, many times. So I do not know why I ended up
fourteenth instead of first.
P: What did you do in that job as an accountant?
S: Well, I was an accounting clerk to begin with. I very quickly got in charge of the
IBM punch-card system which was in operation then. I ran that system for them for
four or five years, I guess. I eventually went with the United States government as
a cost accountant in 1945, so I was with the Liquor Control Board from 1934 to 1945.
P: What were you doing during the war years?
S: I worked for the controller general [in the] GAO [General Accounting Office] as a
principal accounting auditor. [This was] in Philadelphia. Principal accountant was
P: You were not called into service, or were you too old? Or [was it] the fact that you
S: I was 1A, 2A, and 3A. I had one child by that time. I would be 1A for a while, and
then I would be put back into 3A. But I never did get called in.
P: What did you do at a GAO? What did that stand for?
S: [It stands for] General Accounting Office, which is the office of the controller general
of the United States.
P: You worked in Philadelphia in that capacity?
P: What kind of work did you do? Describe your work.
S: Well, we were auditing government contracts. I made the first overhead on it that
was ever made in the GAO. This resulted in a claim for about $.25 million against
the Kellet Auto Gyro Company, but they never filed it.
P: This means the thousands of military operations?
S: I never audited military operations, although the GAO did (and does). But I audited
only government subcontractors.
P: I see. These were all over the United States?
S: Most of mine were located in Philadelphia.
P: These were contracts let by government agencies. It was your job, and the people
who worked with you, to make sure that they complied with rules and regulations?
S: That is right. We had to audit every single document that they made claim to. We
audited every claim. It was actually a very sterile kind of life.
P: Was this a good paying position at that time?
S: At that time I doubled my salary when I got the job. I was making something around
P: That was good money at that time.
S: That was pretty good. I was very happy with it.
P: When were you and Louise married?
S: May 19, 1934.
P: You say that you have three children?
P: Give me their names and birthdays.
S: Theodore Williard Stone III, whose birthday is February 17, 1938; Donald Edwin
Stone was born on January 22, 1940; the third one is Richard Patton Stone, who was
born on August 27, 1945.
P: Now, all of your boys are married?
P: But you do have grandchildren.
S: I have several grandchildren and some great-grandchildren. Ted is married. His
youngest daughter, Vicki (January 21, 1975), is graduating from Westtown this year.
His oldest daughter, Stephany (June 25, 1967), lives in Long Island and runs a pet
store. His son, Eric Williard (August 10, 1968), is at the University of Buffalo.
There are no great-grandchildren from that group yet.
Don's family consists of Gregg Stone (May 7, 1962), Steven Williard (June 17, 1964),
Serena Louise (October 27, 1968), and Kitara Sangree (December 29, 1982).
Gregg is married and has two children, Forrest (September 22, 1988), and Sophia
Amber (October 25, 1992). The second son, Steven, is at Cornell in his doctoral
program. He has just finished his orals. He is going to Brazil for his Ph.D.
dissertation. He is being married this year. Serena and her husband Adie Middleton
have our great-grandson Judah (January 17, 1992).
P: You said that Theodore was the third. Who is he named for? He is not named for
S: We skipped his father. My father was Theodore Williard Stone, Jr. His father was
Theodore Williard Stone.
P: So it jumped you, and he got a third.
P: That is a wonderful way to carry on the family tradition.
So you worked until 1945 for the federal government. You were based in
Philadelphia. Why the change in 1945, and what was the change to?
S: They did away with the classification of the WSI (War Service Indefinite). In 1945
they just closed it down.
P: Did that leave you then without employment? Were they transferring you?
S: No, they just let everyone go.
P: I thought civil service--even then--was protecting you.
S: No, we were War Service Indefinite, and when that job was closed out, everybody
lost their job.
P: Of course, times had changed considerably by the mid 1940s in terms of employment.
So what did you do? You now had two children.
S: While I was working for the government I had built up a small accounting practice.
I had gotten my CPA, and I went into a partnership with Vincent L. Fisher in
Philadelphia. We ran the partnership for two years, [although] it was tough going
against the big firms. He eventually became controller of Sharpe and Dohme, and
I went to the Wharton School [of Finance and Commerce at the University of
Pennsylvania] and started to teach as an assistant professor. I taught there for
P: Give me your degree history now. You went to the Wharton School at the
University of Pennsylvania for your M.A. degree?
S: Yes, the masters was from Wharton. [I got a degree in] finance and economics.
P: You got that in 1950, I think your record shows.
S: And then I took my Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania--Wharton did not have
a Ph.D. at that time. I could not take it in accounting; I had to take it in economics
P: I noticed finance, management, and economics.
S: Finance was my master's degree.
P: You took the Ph.D. in 1957? Were you teaching in between?
S: [I was teaching] all of the time.
P: That is why it took you as long as it did to get the Ph.D.?
S: Of course, ten years was lost in the Depression.
P: [No, I mean] from 1950 to 1957. You received the M.A. in 1950.
S: Yes. I was working on my Ph.D. part time.
P: The private firm activity lasted two years. When did you get the job that you had
after you had lost your position in Philadelphia in 1945? You told me that you went
into a partnership. That would take you from 1945 to approximately 1947. Is that
when you then went to the University?
S: Well, I first went to Drexel University. I taught at the night school at Drexel for one
year. I was then offered the position at Wharton. So I took that, and my partner
took over the Drexel night school. I became an assistant professor in 1947.
P: How did it happen that you would be offered a position like that with just a
S: It was a miracle, honestly. I happened to be there at the right time when Dean
Thomas Budd needed somebody to teach. I turned out to be quite a good teacher,
so I never had any problem after I got in.
P: Were the students part of the student explosion brought on by the GI Bill after the
P: What did you teach?
S: I taught beginning accounting. I lectured to 900 students in the evening school. That
was the first job that I took with shaking knees. I taught in the day school also. I
taught taxation, auditing, and intermediate accounting. In Wharton's graduate
school, I taught Paetonian accounting, auditing, and controllership.
P: I noticed you received your CPA in 1945. Everything was in the state of
Pennsylvania, of course.
P: Did you stay an assistant professor throughout your career at Wharton, or did you
S: I moved up to an associate professor. I am not sure of the year, probably 1957.
P: You were at Wharton from 1947 to 1960. Drexel is not listed here. You taught
there at night. Was Wharton already a big prestigious school? [Did it have] the
same big reputation as it has now?
S: Wharton had a pretty good reputation.
P: It was attracting students from all over the United States?
S: [Wharton] had coasted for quite a few years. At one time every important business
textbook was written at Wharton. But by the time I got there, I am afraid it had
fallen off a bit.
P: How large of a faculty did it have? Were you one among many?
S: I would have to guess. In the accounting department there were about ten.
P: What about the students taking accounting? How large was Wharton?
S: I would have to guess again. Maybe 200.
P: And you started out in the night school?
S: No, I taught both night and day school from the beginning. Actually, the
undergraduate degree (the 200 students) eventually became smaller as the Wharton
graduate school [grew]. As the graduate school gained their reputation, the
undergraduate lost a bit.
P: Did you perhaps receive the advancement from assistant to associate [professor] at
the time that you received the Ph.D. in 1957?
S: I think so. That should be there [in my r6sum6].
P: It just covers the thirteen-year period that you were at Wharton.
How did it happen that you then came to the University of Florida?
S: Dr. Rufus Wixon, head of accounting at Wharton, recommended me to Dean Donald
Hart of the University of Florida. I was invited to visit and was very much impressed
with the climate, the school, the area, Dean Hart, and the faculty members. I liked
all of them. I went home and told my wife that was where we were going. I had a
long, hard row ahead at Wharton. They were very slow with promotions. Also, I
came down here as a full professor, which was good.
P: Was there an increase in salary?
S: Not much. I think I was making $10,000 at Wharton, and I got $12,500 when I came
P: Now, you say you heard about the position at the University of Florida?
S: From Rufus Wixon.
P: But you applied. They did not come seeking you?
S: No. I applied.
P: In those years you would have applied directly to the dean, Donald Hart?
P: He invited you to come down?
S: To come and visit.
P: You liked what you saw? You liked Gainesville?
S: Very much.
P: It was a big change from the big city of Philadelphia, though, wasn't it.
S: And a change to the good. I particularly disliked Philadelphia for two reasons. One
was the ice and snow, which were terrible in the winter, and the second was wind,
which was always dirty. I always had something in my eye in Philadelphia. I missed
it so much when I got here to Gainesville. It was really wonderful.
P: So you arrived in Gainesville, and you liked what you saw. They obviously liked you,
and they made you a job offer as chairman of the Department of Accounting.
P: Was there already an established Department of Accounting here?
P: Who were you replacing?
S: Dr. James S. Lanham was the department chairman.
P: Was he retiring?
S: No, he went to another job, as secretary of the National Association of Cost
Accountants in New York City.
P: I just wondered what the circumstances were that created the vacancy which you
S: I do not know what was back of his leaving, but I think it was a little bit unpleasant.
P: Describe the accounting program when you arrived at the University of Florida in
S: It was a good, solid accounting program with a graduate degree even up to the Ph.D.
These things were very important to me. We had a good faculty, and the school was
well thought of. The students did very well on the CPA exams.
P: Were they able to be placed in good firms?
S: The only problem was satisfying the local firms. We were sending many of our
students to the national firms. We had a lot of trouble over that.
P: Did the college already have an M.B.A. program in place when you arrived?
P: It was also strong in its graduate program?
S: It had an M.B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D.
P: Who were some of the faculty people in your department when you arrived?
S: Harvey Deinzer was one of the senior professors. Larry Benninger was one of the
senior professors. Carl Anderson was an assistant professor. Keith Austin was an
instructor. There were several instructors.
P: Was it a strong department?
S: It was pretty good, except it had too many part-time instructors. I fired them all or
was able to replace them all within a couple of years.
P: You wanted a full-time faculty?
S: Oh, yes, with Ph.D. degrees--and we got them.
P: You were in Matherly Hall? That was your office then?
P: Were you satisfied with the situation?
S: Very. We had a joint secretaries office with the real estate department under Dr.
Al Ring. We had separate secretaries, but we shared secretary space between the
I was very satisfied with the job. I liked Dean Hart. I spent the greatest part of my
effort in faculty recruitment for the entire time that I was there. I think we were
rather successful. We had all Ph.D. people as professors at the end.
P: What were some of your students who became prestigious in terms of their careers?
P: Fred Fisher. He made a lot of money.
S: The senior managing partner for Haskins and Sells was one of our students. I cannot
think of his name at the moment, but he is quite well known.
P: Where did you and Louise live when you first arrived in Gainesville with three
S: Well, we did not bring any of the children with us. Ted was at the University of
Pennsylvania engineering college, Don was at Lehigh University, and Rick, our
youngest one, was at Westtown. So we came without children.
We [initially] lived on 1st Street in a rental apartment. There was a lot of green
mold on all of our shoes and clothing [because] there was no air-conditioning. Then
we bought a house on Clearlake Drive at the end of University Avenue in northwest
Gainesville. We stayed there for quite a few years.
P: Gainesville was a relatively small town in those years, wasn't it.
S: Yes. I am trying to think of the population at that time, but I cannot. In 1960
Gainesville was a small town. It took me five minutes to get to work.
P: That was not an unhappy thing. [laughter]
S: After Penn, where I had an hour of harrying driving down Schuylkill Drive--"Sure-Kill
Drive," they called it.
P: How did Louise adjust to Gainesville?
S: [She adjusted] just fine. She liked it from the minute we arrived. She was active in
various women's organizations in the University.
P: So she was not unhappy to leave the big city either?
S: Not a bit. She was a little unhappy about leaving the children, but they were all at
an age where we could leave them.
P: Discuss the college under Don Hart when he first arrived in the 1960s.
S: Don was a wonderful dean.
P: He succeeded Matherly.
S: Yes, he did. He did an excellent job as dean. He was a believer in strong
department heads--he gave a lot of power and responsibility to the department heads.
I think he had good ones. I think we built the school up under Dean Hart and the
department heads. Don was just a wonderful person to work for.
P: Where is he now?
S: Don is dead. He died at Black Mountain, North Carolina. He went from here to
[be] president of a small denominational college in North Carolina. Then he went
to the University of North Carolina for a few years. He died rather suddenly about
two years ago.
P: So we will not be able to get him on tape. We waited a little bit too long.
Now, you were both the chairman of the department and a professor of accounting.
P: So that meant that you were in the classroom also.
S: I taught the basic accounting course for all students, a lecture with 500 people, and
I also taught auditing and intermediate [accounting] at times. I taught a graduate
course in the history of accounting, which was my hobby. Most of my work was done
on the basic course.
P: Under your supervision and direction during the 1960s, how would you compare the
Department of Accounting with other departments at other southern universities?
S: I think it was very near the top. Our nearest competitor was the University of North
Carolina. They made me an offer, by the way, to go there. I think the UF
Accounting Department has always been tops in the Southeast. In the last national
rating I heard, the University of Florida's accounting school was number ten in the
P: [That was] just the Department of Accounting?
S: [It was] what became the School of Accounting.
P: But you did not call it a school yet.
S: [We did] not then, no.
P: So the Department of Accounting in the 1960s was a strong department, and it
compares favorably [with other schools in the region]. Is that a difficult question to
S: Well, that depends. In 1974 it was ranked number one in the United States by the
partners of the national CPA firms. Other US university accounting department
chairmen ranked it number five or six. So it had a pretty good reputation.
P: Williard, how do you evaluate the strength of a department like accounting? What
is it based on? What are the criteria?
S: The rankings are always based upon the opinions of other professionals and
professors of universities. They send out questionnaires [to professors] at a lot of the
big universities. So they are opinions. They look at the number of Ph.D.s, the
teaching load that they carry, the positions carried by faculty members, like the
president of the American Accounting Association, which John Simmons was. They
look at the number of articles that are published from the school. I never made
president of one of the big firms or accounting associations, but I was vice-president
of the American Accounting Association, and I was editor for the journal of the
Academy of Accounting Historians. Several of our people were well known in their
fields. Larry Benninger was a good writer of cost accounting.
P: I want to go back for just a moment because there was one thing that we left out
here in talking about your business employment, and that was the job that you had
as assistant to the president with the Rolly Manufacturing Company? What was
S: That was a war industry. As a partner in the CPA firm, Stone and Fisher, the
president of that company came to us with his income tax return. We got his return
straightened out for him. He had some problems with a partnership that he had
been in before. He invited me out to Rolly as a consultant because they were failing.
[It was] my dumb luck, I guess, or [it was by] the grace of God [that] I was able to
point out where their problem lay. They hired me then as assistant to the president.
I was there for about two years.
P: What kind of work did that company do?
S: They were a magnesium foundry. They did the basis for the Nike Zeus, which was
the largest piece of magnesium ever cast. They were deeply into war work and had
loans from the government. As assistant to the president, I actually [also] acted as
treasurer for about two years. They then hired another treasurer. I then left of my
own volition to go back to full-time teaching. I was teaching at Wharton all of that
P: During that time that you were here in the 1960s, I noticed that you were also doing
a good bit of consulting with various organizations and firms, like the State Farm
Insurance Company, for instance. What would you have done with them?
S: That was simply a coach course that I gave over in Jacksonville for the CPCU
[Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters] examination.
P: You did that successively for ten years? From 1960 to 1970?
S: Yes. That was an evening course, and I drove over to Jacksonville to give it.
P: How about this educational consultant with the United States controller general?
S: That was for several years.
P: [It was from] 1963-1968.
S: We were called into Washington on occasion to help design the GAO's [General
Accounting Office] program, and their educational program in particular. They had
several (about five) prominent professors from Illinois and Washington and Stanford.
P: What about these two editorial positions you mentioned earlier? Discuss those a
little bit. I noticed one was a book series with Holt, Rhinehart & Winston.
S: I first went with Chilton Co. in Philadelphia. I took them a couple of accounting
books. I was their accounting editor. They had about five accounting books that
were bought out by Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, and they bought me with it. This
was always a part-time job. I did some travelling for them, and I picked up books
and edited accounting books for them. It was a very pleasant association.
P: What about this next position, as an editor with business administration? Oh, this
was the Chilton Book Company of Philadelphia from 1957-1961. And then you went
with Holt, Rhinehart & Winston from there. So you really had a lot of experience
as a book editor, for fourteen years.
P: And I noticed that you were also book review editor for the Management Services
magazine for a period of time.
S: It was a very short period.
P: Under your consulting experience, you list the Management Services magazine, [which
is published by the] American Institute of CPA's, from 1967-1975.
S: They have a number of book review editors who simply edited articles that come in.
I did not have a real editor position there.
P: I am presuming that all of these were pay jobs--you were not doing it just for the
S: No. [Simply working for] Management Services was the honor. I was not paid [for]
the later editorship of the Academy of Accounting Historians. Even the biggest
magazine, The Accounting Review [published by the American Accounting
Association], does not pay. Chilton and Holt paid a commission based on sales of
P: I am curious about this association that you have with the Jacksonville sheriffs
department. That seems a little bit odd.
S: I was recommended by Robert Treweek, a Gainesville insurance broker who had
taken my CPCU coach course in Jacksonville. He recommended me to Dale Carson
[Duval County sheriff]. That is when they merged the county and the city, and they
were merging the police department with the sheriffs department.
P: That was the period of consolidation in Duval County.
S: Yes. They were having some problems with their management setup and [were not
sure of] how to get that straightened out. How long was I there?
P: According to this, you were there for about three years, from 1969-1971.
S: I had a meeting once a month with all of the department heads, and Dale always
P: So you drove over to Jacksonville monthly?
S: Yes, and I just helped them set up their management system. I did not have much
to do with their personnel, but I did, in a sense, train all of their management
people. Their management people came to this three-hour meeting one evening a
P: You trained them in accounting practices?
S: No, [it was in] management.
P: [It was only] management. It had nothing to do with accounting, then?
S: No. It was pure management.
P: What do you mean by "management"? Explain that.
S: Well, it was the traditional management setup of an organizational form. We went
through strategies that the police department should have and how to implement
them. I should be able to rattle off these things, but it has been a few years. There
are strategies and principles and policies, and we went through all of those. So it was
an organizational lecture that I gave. They had a book that they read, and we talked
about it. It was a very rewarding experience.
P: Was it a successful experience?
S: I thought so--they made me an honorary detective when I left. [laughter] I told
them I was so proud of that badge that I was going to put it on my windshield when
I went to Jacksonville.
P: Did that help you with speeding or parking tickets?
S: I have never had one. [laughter]
P: How long were you here at the University?
S: I came in 1960 and retired in 1980. But I came back until 1982.
P: Let us talk about the thinking and philosophy behind setting up a separate school of
accounting, rather than continuing as a department.
S: To the accounting profession, this was a number-one objective. They wanted an
accounting school equivalent to the law school, [one that was] separate from other
denominations in the University.
P: They wanted a separate budget situation?
S: They wanted a separate budget and separate hiring power, which we had.
P: Was this something that was just based upon ego, or was their a real need for this
kind of thing?
S: A very large number of the accounting professionals believed that this was a very
necessary thing for their profession, to have the prestige that the law school gave the
lawyers. They were very keen about it.
P: It sounds like an ego trip kind of thing.
S: Well, they ran into some problems with some of the universities not permitting them
to teach what they wanted to teach. There were not enough accounting courses.
Later on we found that we had too many accounting courses, and we broadened the
curriculum. About the time that our school began, the curriculum was beginning to
be broadened considerably. They were very honest people who were very devoted
to their schools. They put up a tremendous amount of money to form the school
here; they put up $1 million.
P: Were most of the CPAs in Florida graduates of the University of Florida? Were
S: Florida State had an almost equal department.
P: As early as this, in the 1960s?
S: Yes. When I came here they had an outstanding department.
P: So the two state universities were feeding the supply of CPAs in the state.
S: Yes. That is right, and also to the national accounting firms.
P: Were you competing with FSU?
S: We were always very friendly. We had meetings together for the Institute of
Certified Public Accountants. We would have a meeting here one year and over at
Florida State another year. We were very friendly with the faculty. I do not think
we competed. Of course, every time we went to hire a new Ph.D. we competed with
Florida State. [laughter]
P: In the 1960s, did you already have a board of advisors, a committee off the campus?
S: No, [we did not].
P: That comes about with the creation of the school?
S: That came about with John Simmons [professor and chairperson of the Department
of Accounting, 1974].
P: Now, of course, a number of departments and colleges on campus have boards of
advisors made up of people off the campus. How did you relate to the CPAs in
S: We were very close with Clifford Beasley, a secretary for the Florida Institute of
Certified Public Accountants.
P: They had their offices here, did they not?
S: They were in Gainesville, right down the street.
P: What role did they play?
S: There was not too much love lost between the national firms and the local firms.
They felt that the national firms slipped in and got the best students and that they
were relegated to the C students.
P: When you say "they" are you talking about smaller firms in Florida?
S: Yes. They had a monopoly. In order for a national firm to come into Florida they
had to meet all of the Florida department's regulations and get a license, and they
were given a license only for one job at a time; they had to apply for a new license
every time they got a new client.
P: There were national firms like Arthur Anderson already in Florida.
S: Oh, yes, but only on that license basis.
P: Were they then milking your best students?
S: They got the best students; there is no doubt about it. They got the A and B
P: So the association that Cliff Beasley administered was organized by the smaller firms
in Florida to protect themselves?
S: Yes. It was a protection agency.
P: What did Beasley do, and who was he?
S: He was a very strong secretary. He had the complete backing of the local firms in
Florida. He was a very powerful man in Florida.
P: Is he still living?
S: Yes he is. I just saw him in the newspaper the other day. Some burglar got in, and
Clifford and Florence were burglarized.
P: What has happened to the offices? They are no longer on University Avenue. The
[University of Florida] Foundation [for Development and Alumni Affairs] has that
S: I honestly do not know where they are now. Doug Thompson became the secretary
after Cliff Beasley. I do not remember where he went.
P: Beasley is a graduate of the University of Florida?
S: I think so. [Beasley earned a B.A. in 1938 and an M.A. in 1940 from UF. Ed.]
P: It is still a functioning, operating organization today?
P: Is it still doing the same job, trying to protect the smaller firms?
S: Undoubtedly. Doug Thompson broadened it quite a bit. They were very strong with
the Florida legislature. Clifford Beasley was a very good contact man in the
P: By the 1970s there were big firms in Florida, with the growth of the state?
S: Oh, yes, but always on the license, though.
P: Is that still true in 1993?
S: I honestly do not know the full history of this. One of the firms--Arthur Anderson,
I believe--finally took them to court and broke the monopoly.
P: So the push to create a separate school on this campus, a school of accounting, came
about as a result of outside pressure, the desire on the part of small accounting firms
S: No, it was the national firms who particularly pushed it. The small firms were all
strongly in favor of it, but they did not put the money up.
P: Was this all part of a national trend? Was this happening all over the country?
S: There was a national seeking for a [separate] school [of accounting]. I am not quite
sure that we were the first school. John Simmons [inaugural director, UF School of
Accounting] has probably told you about that. [See FSA 1, University of Florida
Oral History Project. Ed.] But we were very close to the first. There was one at
Rutgers before us, I believe. He probably gave you that history.
P: How enthusiastic were you and your faculty in this effort to create a school,
particularly since the pressure was coming from outside of the University?
S: We were all in favor of it.
P: You were in favor of it?
S: Oh, yes, all of the faculty [members] were.
P: [Is this] from a prestige point of view?
S: I think so. It was helpful that way. But it really got started almost from the
beginning by John Simmons when he came in 1974.
P: There must have been some planning and thinking before Simmons arrived.
S: Not very much.
P: No committee had been set up to begin to evaluate?
S: We discussed it, but [Robert F.] Lanzillotti [dean, College of Business
Administration] was very much against it. He would hear nothing about it at all,
until they came up with a million dollars. Then he changed his mind. He became
dean of the school, you know, to begin with.
P: So he is aboard as dean before the school was created?
S: He was the dean of the business college.
P: [This was] before you have a school [of accounting].
P: What do you think Lanzillotti's objections to it were?
S: He was not going to give away the accounting department from under his control.
P: In other words, this was the plan, that accounting would move out of the College of
Business and have its own separate operation with a director of the school, who
would be comparable, perhaps, to a dean.
S: Yes, comparable to Lanzillotti. The sword that cut the Gordian Knot was making
the dean [of the college] the dean of the school. That is when they got it.
P: That overcame Lanzillotti's resistance to it?
P: So Lanzillotti may have seen the value of a school in terms of attracting supported
money, but from a personal point of view he was not enthusiastic about it.
S: I do not think so.
P: And what about Williard Stone?
S: I guess I was shortsighted. I never saw it as a possibility, and I never worked toward
it. I worked towards good relationships with the accounting firms, and we got lots
of support from them and so on. But I must have been partly blind. I knew about
the school, but I just did not consider it a possibility for here.
P: You knew this movement was underway elsewhere in the United States?
S: Yes, I did.
P: Did you think then that it was good or bad?
S: Both. Prestigewise, it was certainly good. But it has the danger of becoming too
specialized in accounting courses in the accounting school. I think they have
broadened a great deal since they first started. Even the CPA requirements set up
by the State Board of Accountancy require a broad education now, rather than a
narrow [one]. When I was here they used to tell you what courses you had to take.
P: I want to get into that, and then I want to get back to the school. But since you
brought up broadening the base, it is often suggested that many of the graduates who
come out of the professional schools on this campus and elsewhere--like engineering,
accounting, and medicine--are not really humanists. They are almost overspecialized
in their areas. When the University College was first created here in the 1930s, one
of the major objectives of [then-President] Dr. [John J.] Tigert was that students in
their first two years would be given this liberal education, which they could then take
into the specialized colleges. When you arrived on campus, that was still here.
S: I definitely approved of it.
P: You approved of general education?
S: Oh, yes. I was sorry to see it go.
P: It did not leave until the end of the 1970s, but there was resistance from the College
of Business to it.
S: Not from me, and I do not think the accounting department ever had an active part
in doing away with it. I always understood that it was the liberal arts departments
who were against that idea.
P: Well, there was a lot of resistance to it very early on. Dean [Walter J.] Matherly was
a very early supporter of general education. In fact, Dean Matherly was the first
dean of the General College before it became the University College. But [Joseph]
Weil [dean, College of Engineering] and others in other areas of the campus--even
in the 1930s--strongly resisted it. I do not know how Don Hart felt about it when he
S: I am pretty sure that he was in favor of it.
P: I suspect that Matherly's influence and impact on the college in those more formative
years probably developed this liberalizing philosophy. But you saw the value of it.
S: I was always very definitely in favor of it.
P: Has the school moved away from that? For instance, when you left in the 1980s, was
there still the demand that your students have some feeling for literature, history, and
S: I think there was, yes. I do not think it was terribly apparent. I cannot remember
the requirements of the degree, but I would be surprised if it was not quite liberal.
P: The CPA firms in the state that were beginning to push for the school--which comes
into existence--wanted the students to have many accounting courses, do they not?
S: Yes. They are not particularly concerned about the liberal arts courses.
P: They do not really care whether the graduates know who Shelley and Byron were.
S: No, but they are very interested that they would have enough accounting courses,
which for an accountant is pretty many. They still have quite a few accounting
P: Were you here when they began to move the curriculum? Did they not expand it to
a five-year period?
S: Yes. The five-year period came about largely through the Florida Institute of
Certified Public Accountants putting in a requirement that in order to sit for the
CPA exam you had to have five years.
P: Five years of what?
S: Of college.
P: I mean, five years of what kind of college courses?
S: Accounting major with an accounting M.A. or an M.B.A. That came about at just
about that time.
P: But Williard Stone is a humanist who had read from childhood on. He obviously
loved literature, because it is part of our background and history. You considered
yourself to be a humanist?
P: And you pushed this kind of a curriculum?
S: I am afraid I rather accepted that in our curriculum we had a fair amount of
humanist courses--particularly when I had the two-year liberal arts beginning. Even
when that was out, it still had a good number of beginning courses. Now, when it
gets into the junior and senior year it is mostly professional courses, and largely
accounting. I pretty much went along with the curriculum that we had. I was most
satisfied with it.
P: Williard, as you reflect back on those earlier years, the 1960s and the 1970s, how do
you judge your colleagues in the college in terms of this question that we are
discussing now? [How do you judge people like] Clement Donovan, Alfred Ring,
[James Donald] Butterworth--the department chairs?
S: They were strong department heads and strongly in favor of their own department.
They were mostly concerned with it.
P: [With] protecting their turf?
S: [With] protecting their department. I am sure they all agreed that we needed a
certain amount of liberal arts. I think [that we probably needed] a little more than
we had; we all agreed to that.
P: At least they gave lip service to it.
S: Oh, yes, at least that. But I think that their major concern was with their business
P: Let us get back to the formation of the School of Accounting. I understand from
what you are saying here now that in the 1960s there was no planning committee and
that the pressure came from outside of the University and outside of the college.
S: I do not know what you mean by "pressure from the outside."
P: Encouragement, perhaps.
S: The Florida Institute actually listed the accounting courses that every student must
have to sit for the CPA examination. They had one course in there which we did not
like--governmental accounting. It stayed for a couple of years; it took me two years
to get it out.
P: But all of these things could have been met within a department of accounting. You
did not need a school in order to develop this kind of curriculum.
S: No, I do not think we did.
P: So, once again, I gather from what we are saying here that the school comes about
as part of a national movement in an effort to develop prestige, status, stature, and
all of those things.
S: I feel that the school is, of course, a five-year program which was actually started
from outside pressure when the legislature passed the law that in order to sit for the
exam you had to have a fifth year of accounting. But I honestly tend to agree with
you that the major theme of the school is prestige.
P: It was an expensive thing, too, because there has to be a separate dean and a
separate secretary and a separate all of those other wonderful things.
S: Yes. But we got the money from the outside ..
P: To start it up.
S: Yes. I think on balance our faculty is pretty much the same as it was when I first
came. It was a good faculty with emphasis on graduate work. But there was good
teaching in the undergraduate, with attention to the undergraduate work as it existed
from outside pressure. In fact, all of the courses were named, which was, I think, a
P: Williard, why did you not become the first director?
S: Why did I not? I was at the end of my rope, I guess. I was seventy.
P: This comes about in the 1980s.
S: I was seventy. I was born in 1910.
P: So you were in your sixties. At that time, you remember that an administrator had
to retire at the age of sixty-five, and a faculty person at seventy. Were you then so
close to the sixty-five that it would not have made sense for them to have appointed
you as director?
S: I could only have been there for one year. They preferred to take a new man--
P: Were you disappointed that they did not make an effort to hold you?
S: No, I was not. I had accepted the idea of retirement.
P: Although you stay on now for another ten years, until the 1980s.
S: It was 1974 when they started that. I stayed on until 1980, so it was six years.
P: The people from the outside, the consultants and advisors, people like Al
Warrington, were you partly responsible for selecting them? In other words, were
you involved in the planning for the school?
S: Not really; I do not think I was. We had not had the idea accepted at that time. I
really had nothing to do with it.
P: So you were the chairman of the Department of Accounting. You are here, and they
are planning a school of accounting over there. I am trying to see where the bridge
is. I am talking now about the 1970s.
S: I think the bridge came right at the point of my retirement. I do not think they
waited particularly for me to retire, but I did not have the vision.
P: You did not retire until the 1980s as a member of the faculty. You mean retiring as
the chairman of the Department of Accounting?
S: That is right.
P: In other words, they were saying now, "Williard Stone is getting ready to retire. He
is approaching the age of sixty-five. Therefore, we can now move ahead to the
school"? I do not mean to say it was one-two like that.
S: I must admit, I was not enthusiastic about the idea of the school for the University
S: I just did not think of it. I knew that the dean was set against it. We talked about
it, but he had no intention of having any such thing.
P: But you saw the thing that they were talking about--the ego business, the stature, and
all of those kinds of things. You had come out of Wharton School which was
perhaps the most prestigious school in the United States at that time. So you come
out of a background where there is, in effect, an independent operation.
S: I was very friendly with all of the accountants. I never had any problems with the
professionals. I had some problems with the institute, trying to balance the
professionals and the locals, but there were never any major problems. They were
P: So you had an amicable relationship, then. Many of these were your former
S: Oh, yes, a good many of them [were]. I do not think I had the vision for the school
here. That was largely due to John Simmons and Al Warrington and several others.
P: In a way it is kind of interesting to note that they were able to bring this school into
fulfillment, notwithstanding the opposition of Lanzillotti and really the non-
enthusiasm on the part of the accounting faculty. Am I saying that right?
S: That is exactly right. They were not opposed to it.
P: But they did not get out and pick up the weapons to fight for it.
S: But they did not go to fight for it. You are right.
P: That is why I say it is kind of interesting that this kind of an operation, which has
become a major thing on this campus, would come into existence. Does that suggest
that there is a lot of power in these firms off the campus that they are able to bring
S: I have no doubt about that. I think it was the power of the major firms that did it.
P: Of course, that fact that they were able to come up with a million dollars ..
S: And several [endowed] chairs and so on.
P: They must have gotten some support from the Board of Regents. You could not
have done this without Tallahassee's support.
S: They probably worked at that angle, too, although I know nothing of that.
P: [There was] maybe even some legislative pressure.
S: I would assume so, yes.
P: How about Tigert Hall? Where were they in all of this? This is a transition period.
[UF President Stephen C.] O'Connell is leaving, [E. T.] York [vice-president for
agricultural affairs and professor of international agriculture] is in there as an interim
president, and [Robert Q.] Marston is coming in [as the new UF president].
S: [Robert A.] Bryan [vice-president for academic affairs] was the real power.
P: They controlled the curriculum and the purse strings in that office.
S: Yes. I just never discussed it with Bryan; I did not push it. I am sorry. I wish I had.
P: Did any of them come to you and say, "Williard, what do you think about this?" Did
Bryan come to you? Did [Gene] Hemp [assistant vice-president for academic affairs]
come to you? Did Marston come to you? Did any of them tell you: "We are getting
this kind of pressure from the outside. You have been at this University since 1960,
[and] you are chairman of accounting. What do you think about it?"
S: I was never asked. I have no regrets about it.
P: To your knowledge, was any of your faculty asked?
S: I think if they asked a faculty [member], they certainly would have asked me. Of
course we discussed it, but I do not remember ever having been asked an official
opinion on it. I doubt very much that the faculty were [even] asked until the thing
was pretty far along.
P: Did you all think it was such a far-fetched thing that would never happen? Did you
figure, "Well, let them talk about this. It is not going to happen anyway, so why
should we waste our time?"
S: As I said, I lacked the vision.
P: But you were not alone in lacking the vision.
S: But it took a spirit. John [Simmons] came in with the spirit.
P: But John would never have come in if the decision had not been made to do this.
I am really a little bit before that, trying to figure out where the determination came
to go ahead with the establishment of the school.
S: I cannot answer you [because] I was not part of it.
P: And the dean was not a part of it.
S: I would say that he knew about it, but I did not think he was enthusiastic.
P: Well, I am going to find out, because I am going to interview him [John Simmons]
next week, and I am going to ask him the same questions I am asking you. [laughter]
S: You may get the right answer then.
P: I may not. He may say the same thing that you are, that "They did this not with me
but because of me in many ways." Although you were obviously not putting up any
impediments or obstacles in their way.
S: Not even one. I would hate for it to come out that I was against it. I was lukewarm
when it was finally [approved].
P: I understand exactly what you are saying. But if it happened, it happened.
S: I just have to admit that I did not have the vision for it.
P: Williard, let me ask you about the fund raising, not necessarily for the School of
Accounting, but for the college. To what degree were you involved in that in the
1960s as chairman of a very viable department?
S: I started the idea of funds from outside [sources]. We had a bank account down at
the First Savings and Loan, and we solicited funds for particular items. Now, if we
came up with a particular thing that we wanted, I could usually get the money from
local firms or from the national firms. They put in a good bit of money. It was
peanuts compared to what it was later, but they would give me $250 for some new
books, [or] when we hired a new tax man and he wanted $1,000 for additional tax
services, we raised that very quickly among the local firms and national firms.
P: You could call them up and say, "This is what I want."
S: Yes. I had to have an object for the money and ask for it for a specific purpose.
P: Williard, did you consider yourself to be a fund raiser? Were you comfortable in
S: I was comfortable in it, but I really did very little and very minor [fund-raising work].
P: Actually, the Foundation was in its very formative stages. It gets organized under
O'Connell, but it really has to wait until Marston is aboard for it to become the big-
time operation that it is now. But even early on they were beginning to solicit for
scholarships and support for students and so on. Did you do much of that beyond
raising relatively small sums on the local level?
S: I must admit that I did not. I am sure that some chairs came in.
P: Chairs did not come in until a little bit later, I think.
S: That is what I am trying to remember. I do not remember having anything to do
with any of the chairs.
P: Chairs come in the late 1970s. You were moving out of the scene then. Marston is
really the man who initiated that kind of legislation, with matching [state funds].
S: I had nothing to do with it.
P: So if there was fund raising, it was in the earliest stages of it. But I wondered about
Don Hart. Was this something that you remember?
S: Don was not a particularly good fund raiser. That is why he had trouble as president
of his college--he was unable to raise the money to keep the college going. He left
under somewhat of a cloud.
P: Were you called upon to go to Tallahassee, to the legislature, to do promoting for
S: Never. I do not think I have even visited the legislature as a visitor. [laughter]
P: What role did you play on the campus beyond your department? [Were you on]
committees, [or did you participate in] activities?
S: I had a fairly substantial role. As I remember, I was [on] the Graduate Council. I
got along very well with [Linton] Grinter [dean, Graduate School]. When I came for
an interview, I interviewed with Dean Grinter, and Dean Grinter was not terribly
impressed. He said he thought I was too weak of a man for the job.
P: He told you that?
S: He later changed his mind, thank goodness, and was one of my strong supporters.
We did a bit of publishing in the department. I encouraged the faculty to write, and
I wrote a considerable amount myself. Dean Grinter always backed us up from then.
He was a very strong friend.
The [UF] Press was another relationship that I had. I tentatively ran it for a while.
It was in disgrace, and they were going to close it down.
P: [This was] when Bill Haynes was leaving?
S: I went and offered to oversee the cash spending of it, to stay within their budget.
P: But you had no publishing experience?
S: [I had some experience in] editorship, but not really. Bill's trouble was not with the
publishing. Bill's trouble was with money. I took over the control of the money for
a couple of years.
P: Who did you offer your services to?
S: Dr. Bryan. He was my connection with the University.
P: He probably received you with enthusiastic arms, knowing the press at that time.
S: At least they did not close the press down, which was touch-and-go at the moment.
P: They were looking for some kind of steadying influence there.
S: Bill was very appreciative. I then became a close friend of the new director, Bill
Harvey. He was a poker player; we played poker together. He was very friendly.
P: He came to a tragic, sad end.
S: He had cancer.
P: What committees were you active on within the college?
S: I was on the University's budget committee a good bit of the time.
P: That was obviously a powerful committee, because you had to determine how the pie
was to be sliced up.
S: And where the drippings went.
P: You were on the Graduate Council?
S: I was on the Graduate Council.
P: And you worked with the University of Florida Press in a very active role there. You
were not on the press board, though, were you?
S: I was a member of the board from 1961 to 1980 and chairman of the board, but only
for a very short time.
P: Were you involved in the library committee?
P: The curriculum committee?
S: No. I did not have any other connections that I know of or can remember.
P: How did you relate to students, Williard? Was your door open, and did you have the
kind of personality where students came in and talked to you about their problems?
S: I always directed the graduate program and had a very close relationship with the
graduate students. We had parties at our home and so on. I had a good relationship
with the undergraduate students also.
P: You felt that students liked you. You were not an S.O.B. You were a person they
felt they could turn to.
S: They came to me with complaints on occasion. I met the undergraduate students in
this large lecture that I gave on Accounting 201. I still have people come up to me
saying, "Oh, I remember you, Dr. Stone, from my basic accounting course." I think
I had a good relationship [with the students].
P: How about with your faculty?
S: I had a good relationship with them. Some of them were a bit weird.
P: Well, they are in the College of Business. [laughter]
S: No, they are professors. [laughter] There was a continuing dissatisfaction with the
fact that I could not pinpoint how the number of dollars of salary increases was
distributed. I tried my best to do that. We used to have a rating for the department
faculty based upon their teaching, their publication, and various aspects of their work,
and we rated them each year. By and large, they accepted the rating very reasonably,
with not too much complaint. One professor in particular did not like my ratings.
But I think I had a good relationship with the faculty.
P: [You had] a good social relationship also?
S: Oh, we always had a strong social relationship. My wife is very good at that. She
still goes to lunch with the old accounting faculty members' wives.
P: When you look back on it, Williard, do you think it was wise for the School of
Accounting to emerge?
S: I think it was a great step forward.
P: Do you think it was wise to have the kind of arrangement that they finally worked
out--a cooperative arrangement with the single dean rather than the one that they
S: I think it was extremely well done. I am in favor of everything that has been done.
P: They were doing it on an experimental basis for six years. At the end of the six
years, the decision was made to have the single dean and to really have the school
as part of the overall College of Business.
S: Yes. It really stayed the same.
P: You are looking back from 1993 at events that occurred fifteen years ago, and you
are not part of it now.
P: As you think about it, do you think it was all good?
S: Yes. But nothing is all good.
P: But you do not think the University made a major mistake in doing this?
S: No, not in any respect. They still have the respect of other schools for their graduate
program, which could be a problem. Professional and graduate [schools] are not
exactly in step [with each other], and [UF] held both. They were recently rated
highly in a poll by the University of Illinois as number eight in both the graduate and
the undergraduate [programs], in both the school and the graduate program. [They
were rated] number eight in the nation.
P: Which is very excellent.
S: That is pretty good. [UF] was number ten when I was here, and they have now gone
up as far as eight.
P: I notice, in looking over the material that you have sent me, that during the years
when you were here (and even earlier when you were at Wharton) you were a very
productive scholar. You did your research and wrote.
S: You have to write if you are a professor. I knew that, and I wrote from the time I
was at Wharton.
P: That is somewhat the exception rather than the rule, if you look at the records of the
faculty in the College of Business and many other colleges, [especially] the
professional colleges, on the campus. But you had an enviable record.
S: Well, it is nice of you to say so. I am not sure how significant the articles were, but
they were published, and in good journals.
P: In juried journals, good journals.
S: There were a couple of "toothbrush weeklies," but not too many.
P: So in many ways you could be considered a scholarly accountant. Is that a way to
S: I hope I could, yes. I spent a great deal of time writing.
P: And you liked it?
S: I struggled with it. I did not have a computer in those days, and I wrote in pencil
and used scissors and paste.
P: I still do it that way.
S: I still do too. I have two articles out now for possible publication.
P: So you have not given up that part of your career?
S: Well, I have, yes. I have not done any real research. This was a hangover of
research that I did when I was in the school.
P: But your big book is going to come out, and it is going to metamorphosize all of
these kinds of things.
S: No more books.
P: I mean, 1997 is going to be this big splash [with] Williard Stone's Memoirs and His
Look to the Future. [laughter]
S: [laughter] That will be the day.
P: You have never thought about doing your memoirs, have you?
S: No, I have not, and will not.
P: Is this going to have to constitute it?
S: Yes. I am counting on this [interview].
P: [laughter] You are counting on our collaborative effort.
S: I have a former Ph.D. student, Dick Vangermeersch, working on it now. He is
working on something; I think it is very minor. He sent for my vita and is working
up some kind of article for the academy of accounting historians. They are going to
publish something or other. I do not know what.
P: In Florida, or is this national?
S: No, that is international.
P: When you were active in the department before your retirement, were you called
upon to talk?
S: I have never been a great speech maker. I did a lot of talking, yes. I gave talks,
particularly when I visited as visiting professor in Australia and South Africa, the
University of Virginia, and the University of Kentucky. I was called upon to give
talks, and I did.
P: And you enjoyed it.
S: I enjoyed it somewhat. It was not my favorite occupation.
P: Have you and Louise done a lot of travelling?
S: We have been around the world. There are some nations we have not gotten into,
but we have been around the world twice. We have been to New Zealand three
times, and I spent some time teaching in South Africa and in Australia.
P: So it would be an obvious answer if I asked you if you enjoyed travelling.
S: Well, my wife enjoys it more than I do. She is now at me to go to an elder hostel,
so I guess we will go.
P: So you will go to an elder hostel in some far away, exotic clime. [laughter]
S: Well, we hope it will be in Canada.
P: That should be very delightful and very nice. When did you go around the world?
S: 1966 was our first trip around the world; we went all the way around.
P: By ship and air and all of those wonderful things?
One of the things that I would like to mention which I thought I did very well for the
department--which has not been particularly carried on--was the relationship with
foreign universities. We had a postdoctoral program here, and we had ten professors
from Japan with doctor's degrees. We [also] had a French postdoc. I think that was
about it. I tried very hard to develop that program, and we had very good relations
with Wasada University in Tokyo. Personally, I still have very good relations with
Japan. If you notice, I was editor of a Japanese series, which was a very pleasant
occupation. It was hard work, but it got us a trip to Japan with all of the cushions.
P: [A trip with] all of the accouterments, with all of the extras included. [laughter]
S: Yes. We had a good time. So my work with the foreign countries and students was
P: And yet the University is interested in developing those kinds of relationships.
S: The accounting department was not [interested]. When I tried to exchange with a
professor from England I was told that the department was too busy to take an
exchange professor, so I could not go. They [also] had no interest in the Japanese
program. They had no interest, and have not since then. This is possibly one of the
costs of the school of accounting.
P: This is true of the School then, because many areas of the University are developing
S: Right. I looked at that as the development of the University with respect to their
competitors at Stanford, Berkeley, and so on.
P: Because we have very active programs, with Utrecht [Netherlands], for instance, and
S: I even tried to get a joint magazine with the University of Sydney in Australia, with
Ray Chambers, and I brought in those people for conferences. But one of my goals
was to build a Stanford-type operation, or a Berkeley-type operation, to build the
University into that. And the University of North Carolina has somewhat of that,
you see. As I say, Dean Robert Lee of the University of North Carolina apparently
noticed that, because he tried to get me to go up there. That was a little late in my
P: I want to ask you a personal question: How did you get all involved in this hiking and
walking, which is the envy of everybody who sees you, this young energetic man?
S: Do you want a confession?
S: I am not simply walking--I am treasure hunting. When I retired I became a collector,
and I collect things by walking. I walk about five or six miles a day.
P: I am envious of you.
S: This kept me in pretty good shape.
P: You look marvelous.
S: At eighty-two, I could look worse.
P: That is true of all of us.
S: Dean Hart's wife was one who always put her foot in her mouth, [but] she was a
delightful person. My wife said to her one day that she was taking exercises and she
wished it would help her hair. Margaret Hart thought for a minute and said, "Louise,
just think about what it would look like if you did not take exercises." [laughter]
P: What kind of treasure are you looking for as you go around collecting?
S: I seem to find pennies mostly, but occasionally money.
P: But no Spanish doubloons.
S: I hate to confess to this, but I collect aluminum cans.
P: You do not have to confess to it. If it pays off, that is good. That will pay off your
next elder hostel trip. [laughter]
S: No, I get about $200 a year. But I feel that it is a good thing to do.
P: And you are cleaning up, too.
S: I clean up some. By the way, I have a certificate from the mayor of Gainesville.
When Bill Howard was mayor, he wrote a certificate to me thanking me for cleaning
the streets. That was before the signs of street takeovers went up.
P: Who else would you suggest that I do interviews with, people who may still be
available and whose memories are like yours? I am going to do [Clement] Donovan,
S: Donovan would be good.
P: And maybe even Al Ring.
S: Al will have positive thoughts. He is a very positive individual. I like Al.
P: He is even more energetic than you are. He still plays tennis.
S: I take the back seat, yes. And his mind is also terrific.
P: [He is] very sharp.
S: I think you should have him.
P: Is there anybody else that you can think of? There is a limit to how many we can
do, but I want to do some significant interviews.
S: Have you done Bob Bryan?
P: He is on the list.
S: I think he was one of the most influential men in the University.
P: Yes, we are going to do Bob Bryan, and then Bob is going to do some interviewing
for us. He wants to become an oral historian. He will be excellent.
S: He will be. He is good at anything he takes up.
P: What have we not talked about, Williard, about Williard Stone's public career that
we should mention? I am glad you brought in [information] about the exchange
program, because that needs to be documented.
S: I would like to see that given mention, because I think it has dropped by the wayside.
I am sorry for that. I think we had a good start. We had foreign students coming
for graduate work from Australia, France, and South Africa.
P: Williard, are you a forgotten man in the college?
S: Everybody is forgotten when you are retired, except for Sam Proctor.
P: I know exactly what you are saying. I am just wondering if there is an effort within
your college to maintain a relationship not only with Williard Stone, but with others
S: We are invited to the breakfast when alumni come in. Accounting has a bad history.
They have some old-timers who would never give up, like Dean Wiles of engineering.
[This was] in different universities, not here. When I retired, I absolutely withdrew.
P: You cut the strings?
S: I made one offer, and it was refused. I offered to take over the graduate program
for a while until John [Simmons] got started, but he wanted that right off for himself.
So I, frankly, was cut off before retirement. It has been pretty much that way since.
The outsiders are still friendly. I get invited to their son's weddings and so on. But
I have no real connection anymore with the University.
P: That is true in any academic community. It is not just true at the University of
S: It is also healthy. The ones that hang on and will not let go are a great problem to
any university. I have never been a problem to the University in that respect.
P: As you look back on your life, Williard, has it been a good life in terms of fulfilling
S: I have had a very fortunate life. I do not understand how I was so lucky. I got an
P: And a good family.
S: From where I started from, for me to get into the Wharton School and to be the
department head here is fantastic.
P: As you look back on your eighty-plus years now, not only do you feel that you were
fortunate, but do you feel that you achieved your goals and the things that you
thought about as a young man?
S: I think I probably should have done better, particularly in writing. I started two
books besides the one that I did take part in and did not finish either one. It is
probably just as well. I think I regret that. That was always a failing that I had, that
I did not finish the books. But other than that ..
P: You have had a satisfactory, happy life?
S: I think I had a quite contented and satisfied life.
P: As you look into the future, does it look dark and gloomy and all of those things?
S: Not until the hyperinflation hits us, which will come. But I think that I probably will
not be here.
P: You and I will both have departed. [laughter]
S: The national debt will be taken care of very quickly. I am hoping that my little nest
egg will hold out until we leave. And our health is holding out--both my wife's and
mine--reasonably so. So I am reasonably content.
P: That is good.
S: I do not want to be a Sam Proctor.
P: You will not be. [laughter]
S: You will not give up, Sam. [laughter]
P: I want you to know that I appreciate you giving up your time for this kind of thing.
It was a most enjoyable experience.