George Inducted into Faculty Hall of Fame

Apr 28, 2017 | Stacey Ortman, director of public information

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Dennis George always had a dream to one day share his experiences from industry and teach at a college. As he pursued a master of business administration at the University of Dubuque, George realized his dream could come true with the Spartans.

“I was truly inspired by the UD Mission and how we, as a university, reach out to first generation college students and students who may be underprepared for college,” said George, associate professor of accounting and director of the summer school program at UD. “I felt that I could truly make a positive impact on the lives of our students.”

Thirteen years after joining the University and inspiring countless students, George was one of two people inducted into UD’s Faculty Hall of Fame for Excellence in Teaching and Advising on April 27 at the Dubuque Golf and Country Club. The event was established in 1995-96 by Richard and Donna Svrluga to recognize the contributions and impact of faculty on the lives of students. Awards are named in honor of former distinguished faculty members John Knox Coit and William Lomax. George received the 2017 William L. Lomax Award. Lomax was a member of the Business Department from 1953-69.

“Dennis George shows up every single day with a smile on his face that is contagious in his classroom,” said Jeffrey F. Bullock, president of UD. “He identifies ways to connect with his students and provides an enjoyable learning environment for his classes. The impact he has made on his students’ careers is timeless and he continues to inspire his past and current students’ future endeavors each and every day.”

George was deeply honored and humbled by the award.

“As I told President Bullock when he met with me to inform me that I would be receiving this award, I am not much for individual accolades,” he said. “I am not really a vocal leader, I am much more a behind-the-scenes kind of guy who would rather quietly lead by example.”

George holds a bachelor of arts in accounting from Loras College and a master of business administration from the University of Dubuque. He joined the faculty at UD in 2004 and is an associate professor of accounting, director of UD Summer School, and a member of the advisory committee for the Office of Vocation, Civic Engagement, and Life Services. George was the head of the Business and Accounting Department from 2007-13 and the lead faculty for the Becker CPA Review from 2013-16. He is also a board member and director of academic development for the Tri-State Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) as well as a member of the national IMA organization and the campus advocate for the IMA. Prior to his time at UD, George spent almost 20 years in industry in various financial and senior level management positions including CFO of a publicly traded technology company.

He has taken that experience outside of academia to create lessons that help students tackle accounting – a subject he knows can be difficult for many students.

“I attempt to breakdown complex concepts into more simple bite-sized chunks and help them to build a foundation to learn the more difficult concepts,” George said of his teaching style. “I try to reach my students at their level and show how and why the subject matter I am teaching is important for them to know. Understanding that the subject matter is meaningful to them helps them to more sincerely engage in the subject matter.”

Advice for Colleagues

As a faculty member of a certain age and generation, it has been quite a few years since I was an undergraduate and this is similar for many of my colleagues. Times were different when we were undergraduates, and we sometimes forget about the challenges and difficulties that we encountered. My advice to my colleagues would be to try to be empathetic and learn and understand what are the challenges and difficulties that the current generation of college students are facing and not to hold them to some archaic standards that we think we had when we were their age.

Advice for Future Graduates

There are some basic tenets that I try to live by and follow. I’m not saying these are keys to success, but they’ve helped me to successfully arrive at this point in my life and I think they can be helpful to future graduates.

  • Appreciate all of the personal interactions (both good and bad) you encounter in your life and learn from them.
  • Be honest, genuine, and treat people with respect.
  • Lead by example.
  • Surround yourself with good people.
  • Continue to challenge and stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
  • Always give 110 percent in whatever you do and don’t be concerned with who gets the credit.
  • You never know when an opportunity may present itself, so always be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that may come along.

Steven Accinelli, professor of aviation and director of aviation programs at UD, received the 2017 John Knox Coit Prize at UD’s Faculty Hall of Fame for Excellence in Teaching and Advising. Click here to read his story.