By Kelsey Brush – At William Jewell the professors are dedicated and passionate experts in their fields. They stretch their students’ minds far beyond the minimum expected and prepare their students for the world beyond the classroom. Dr. Jean Hawkins, professor of Accounting, is one of these individuals.
As a young college student, Dr. Hawkins imagined a career in teaching, but on her parents’ advice she majored in Accounting at the University of Central Missouri where she graduated in 1968. She then went on to pursue her Masters of Arts in Business from UCM, which she completed in 1970.
While a grad student, she paid her expenses by teaching as a graduate assistant, an experience that confirmed her love for teaching. She remained at UCM as a professor in the business department for three years after completing her Masters.
After teaching for three years, Hawkins was offered a position as an accountant with the federal government. While she loved her work, the job required her to travel regularly and she did not care for living out of her car. Around this time public accounting and auditing firms were in search of highly qualified women accountants and Hawkins applied for positions at two firms. While she was especially impressed by one of the opportunities, to her dismay she never heard from that firm and accepted an offer from her second choice.
Later, a mentor familiar with her career contacted Hawkins and asked why she had not accepted the position she wanted. When Hawkins explained that she had never heard back from the firm, her friend and mentor was surprised because he knew the firm did, in fact, want Hawkins but it turned out that the partner in charge of sending the letters had gone on vacation and did not send the letter before his absence. Although Hawkins was dismayed to hear this, she had already begun her new career episode at the other firm.
Dr. Hawkins enjoyed her work at this accounting firm where she met a co-worker, Stephen Hawkins, who is now her husband. At the time, married couples could not work at the same firm together, so Hawkins decided she would pursue a position in higher education.
After investigating opportunities at several area colleges and universities, including Jewell, she accepted a position at Rockhurst University as an Accounting professor. A year later, the Chair of the Department of Business and Leadership at William Jewell contacted Hawkins with an opportunity she gladly accepted in the summer of 1976. She has been a highly esteemed member of the faculty ever since.
In March 2011 Dr. Hawkins received her Doctorate from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana.
A high point during her remarkable career was working with Charles Horngren at Stanford University. Dr. Horngren was a great scholar and mentor to Hawkins, and recommended her to a publishing company for whom she authored the 10th and 11th edition instructor manuals for a text on cost accounting.