In 2011, over 90,000 candidates sat for the Uniform CPA Examination. While passing the exam is an accomplishment in itself, earning a score within the top 100 or even top 50 is unthinkable for many test takers. Gonzaga University Masters of Accountancy graduate Kiely Strohmaier went one step beyond that by earning scores that placed her in the top 37 among 90,000 test takers.
Kiely is a recipient of the 2011 E.W. Sells award, which recognizes outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA Examination. The award was presented to 37 candidates who earned top scores on all four sections. Awarded by the American Institute of CPAS (AICPA), the 2011 awards were presented to candidates who obtained a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, completed testing during the previous calendar year, and passed all four sections of the Examination on their first attempt.
Kiely notes that earning this award is a significant honor. “This came as a huge surprise. When you are taking the exams, you really have no idea where you stand or how you are doing,” said Kiely.
Kiely came to Gonzaga’s Masters of Accountancy program after finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington. She noted the rolling admissions and flexible start time as key benefits of the MAcc program. “I graduated early from the University of Washington and I was able to start my MAcc right away at Gonzaga. It worked out perfectly to complete the program within a year and take the CPA in the summer,” Kiely explained.
While at Gonzaga, Kiely enjoyed the personal, close-knit community on campus. Specifically interested in tax issues and case studies around agriculture, Kiely appreciated the faculty’s willingness to provide her with extra information and resources.
“I’m really thankful for everybody at Gonzaga who supported us and helped us learn what we need to know to start careers and pass the CPA. Gonzaga did a great job. The MAcc program is strong and getting stronger all the time!”
Kiely Strohmaier is currently a staff accountant for CliftonLarsonAllen LLP in Moses Lake, WA.
Amidst wrapping up his MBA coursework this summer, alumnus Ryan Witham found time to train for and compete in Ironman held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Here the story in his own words:
Coeur d’Alene Ironman: June 24, 2012
Distances: 2.4m swim, 112m bike, 26.2m run
Charity: When I started training for Ironman, I knew I wanted to somehow give back to the community. In March I decided to partner with Center Pointe, a non-profit organization in Spokane that provides social, recreational and education activities in a safe, barrier free environment for adults with diverse abilities. In preparation for my race, I created a scholarship fund with the purpose of covering the costs for an individual to attend Center Pointe who may not have the opportunity otherwise due to financial hardships. I chose to partner with Center Pointe because I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); a developmental disability I have learned to accept and embrace. As an adult with ADHD, I have learned ways to overcome the disorder such as maintaining an active lifestyle and eating healthy. Training for an event like the Coeur d’Alene Ironman provided me with the structure and routine that allowed me to stay focused and on-track.
Training: In January I joined Team Blaze Spokane, a local triathlon club to help give me guidance and support while on my Ironman journey. During my training Team Blaze hosted a number of training and social events where team members could do swim workouts, long rides, brick workouts or mini-triathlons. Social events were also held as way for team members to share information and tips about how to prepare for certain races. In preparation for the race I followed a 20 week training schedule while also attending Gonzaga University as a full-time MBA student.
Race Recap: This past April, Scott Roy, coach of Team Blaze passed away suddenly. Due to the personal impact he had on me, I decided to dedicate my Ironman race to Coach Scott. He was truly one of the most inspirational individuals I have ever met. Not only was Coach Scott an outstanding athlete, but he was a positive mentor and motivator for everyone who crossed his path. Coach Scott’s favorite saying was “Enjoy the Journey.” This motto is what gave me the strength and motivation on race day from the second the gun went off to the moment I crossed the finish line 11 hours and 44 minutes later.
Overall I was extremely pleased with how the race went. The second lap of the 2.4 mile swim was a bit rough, but once I got out of the choppy, cold water and onto my bike, I felt much more comfortable. After the 112 mile bike, it was time for the 26.2 mile run. During the run I was in a zone where I felt like nothing could stop me. As I was approaching the finish line, I looked up and thanked Coach Scott for his inspiration. Ironman CD’A was truly an incredible journey that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
BBA 1953, MBA 1963
Member of the first MBA Graduating Class
Fred Owen exemplifies what it means to be a Gonzaga University Alumnus. His passion for ethics and his understanding that people are fulfilled not by money but through achievement, resonates through his professional life to this day.
Fred’s Gonzaga journey began as an undergraduate in the School of Business in 1949 where he was a member of Gonzaga’s highly respected Men’s Glee Club and was selected to the National Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. After earning a BBA in Economics and Business, Fred served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict and later worked as a manager of human resources and line operations in government and private industry.
After several years, Fred returned to Gonzaga University to study Law. Three semesters into his law degree, Fred decided to enroll in the new Graduate School of Business where he earned his MBA as a member of the first graduating class. Although ethics was not explicitly taught in the early years of the program, as it is today, Fred recalls that it was an underlying theme in all of his classes. He argues that much, if not all, of his professional work is founded on the principles of ethics and rationality taught by Gonzaga professors.
Effective management, which recognizes that personal achievement is more important than compensation, is Fred’s primary professional passion. Throughout his career, he has steadfastly encouraged public and private sector employers to understand the importance of meaningful work. This is particularly evident in his extensive work with the issue of pay equity. His first project was an objective approach to achieving equity in compensation between women and men who performed work of similar value. While on the surface this sounds like a straightforward compensation issue, the problem with equity encountered by Fred was a systematic under-valuing of work done, in this case, by women.
The project became a landmark study that was considered for its fairness by the United States’ Supreme Court and has become the principal reference point for organizations in government and private industry when employers determine objective compensation policies without reference to gender. Subsequently, Fred performed similar work for the federal Government of Canada, helping to establish equitable compensation for approximately 200,000 employees. He performed compensation design and development for several other institutions of government, higher education, and private industry across North America.
Fred continues to provide services in the field of human resource management to government, higher education, and private industry employers. His professional life is clearly indicative of the deep commitment to the principles developed during his years at Gonzaga University.
Gonzaga left an indelible mark on Fred Owen, who, in turn, has left his mark on the world. It is with great pride that we acknowledge Fred Owen, prestigious member of the first class of Gonzaga University’s Graduate School of Business!
Reconnect with Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ahmed Khalfan, MBA '05
Khalifa Deputy Manager
Kuwait Finance House
My life changed drastically after completing my MBA at Gonzaga, I got engaged to the love of my life two months after returning back home. I began building our home while struggling to meet the difficult objectives set for my new job then as Head of Marketing at the local telecommunications service provider. After a year, I was offered a job at the second largest Islamic bank in the world. The job has been very demanding and still is.
A few months after moving into our new home, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Zain, six months. Before having Zain we did a lot of traveling. We visited Rome, Spain, Portugal, the UK, and Kuala Lumpur. My best trip was visiting the Colosseum in Rome. That's when I realized I have a soft spot for history. I really believe that a person can learn more from history than anything else.
My career during the past five years witnessed a major transformation from officer, to supervisor, to assistant manager and now deputy manager. The responsibilities of course kept increasing and become more complex in nature. But I still believe that I have a ways to go before sticking to a specific position for a longer period. My biggest fear is to be forgotten. This is my motivator, my tool to strive for a better role in my career and in my personal life.
I owe most of my development in these few short years first and foremost to God and then to my wonderful family and finally to the experience I received during my MBA at Gonzaga. I will always feel in debt and would love to continue being in touch with the Alumni and especially '05 graduates. God bless you all and I will always have Gonzaga in my heart.