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College professor wins CPA teaching award

Eileen Duffy | Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The American Women’s Society of CPAs recently honored Saint Mary’s accounting professor Claude Renshaw as Educator of the Year at its Nov. 12 conference in Chicago. The AWSCPA recently established its first student affiliate group at Saint Mary’s, which has the largest accounting program of any U.S. women’s college.”I’m very flattered and honored,” said Renshaw, who has been teaching at Saint Mary’s since 1977. He is the moderator of Lady Accountants of Tomorrow at the College and co-authors a South Bend Tribune column called “Tax Talk” with Notre Dame professor Ken Milani each spring. He and Milani also coordinate a program where Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students volunteer to help South Bend residents with their tax returns.After 27 years, Renshaw has developed a unique teaching style. “I like to make accounting and tax as interesting as I can,” he said. “A lot of people have preconceived notions about these subjects, but I try to stimulate responses by injecting humor and other activities into my classes.”Renshaw’s students said they were excited about the award and credited Renshaw’s deep concern for students. “He’s probably the best professor I’ve ever had,” said senior Valarie Johnston, a former student of Renshaw’s. “You never got tired in his classes. He would keep your attention really well. He just made things more relatable to life.”Johnston also commented on Renshaw’s role as moderator for the LAT. “I don’t think it’d be where it is today without him,” she said. “He provides us with so many opportunities.”Veronica Fritz, another member of the LAT, recalled a trip to Washington, D.C. that Renshaw had organized for the group, and his unusual way of preparing the students. “He loves board games,” she said. “He had us all over to his house one night to play a Washington, D.C. trivia game.”When looking back on his career, Renshaw quickly chose his favorite aspect. “The highlight of my career is an ongoing one – seeing students graduate from [Saint Mary’s] and become talented, capable individuals in their professional lives,” he said. “I keep in touch with many of my students, some of whom are even partners at major accounting firms. It’s really, really rewarding.”