By Professor Ashley (Billinger) Minnich, ’08, CPA, Assistant Professor of Accounting – It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the passing of Dr. Jean Hawkins, professor emerita of accounting at William Jewell College, on April 17, 2017.
Dr. Hawkins was a beloved member of the Jewell community. Throughout her 39-year career at Jewell, she dedicated herself to sharing her love of accounting with students and was an inspiration to many, including myself. I was a student of Dr. Hawkins, and for all of my adult life, she has been a friend and a mentor. It was her influence that drove me to follow in her footsteps and become a professor.
Dr. Hawkins was an adept teacher and was committed to ensuring that her students were learning. Her knowledge of accounting was immense, and her excitement about the field was evident in every class session. She was always at the front of the room, listening and contributing to the discussion as she furiously wrote problems or concepts on the chalkboard in the most beautiful cursive handwriting.
Dr. Hawkins always went above and beyond normal expectations of a professor, and her belief that learning extended well beyond classroom hours was evident in her seemingly unlimited office hours. While the lessons that she taught in class were extremely important, the lessons she taught outside of the classroom were even more impactful. She had an open-door policy, and I knew that I could come by and discuss anything with her in a judgment-free atmosphere, whether it was homework questions, campus happenings, or my personal life.
My fondest memories of my college experience happened in her office. We discussed any number of topics that are now lost to time—What I do remember is that the guiding principle of every discussion was that, no matter how unfair or difficult the world seems, I am successful as long as I work hard and interact with others in a fair, honest, and straightforward way. The things Dr. Hawkins taught me about life will continue to impact me for years to come.
As I reflect upon all of the wonderful things Dr. Hawkins did for me, the thing that astonishes me the most is the fact that I’m not the only person whose life has been so profoundly impacted by her. She freely offered this treatment to any student who crossed her path over her decades at Jewell. She poured her soul into making a difference in students’ lives, and I, for one, will be forever grateful.
To honor Dr. Hawkins’ remarkable life and legacy, the Department of Business and Leadership has created the Dr. Jean Hawkins Memorial Accounting Award for Women. This scholarship will be awarded to women pursuing their accounting degree. Dr. Hawkins was an early pioneer for women in the accounting field. Her experiences made her passionate about ensuring that women have an equal opportunity for success in accounting. To support this award, send contributions to the Dr. Jean Hawkins Memorial Accounting Award for Women at William Jewell College, 500 College Hill, Box 1032, Liberty, MO 64068 or follow the link, William Jewell Tribute Gifts. In the “Tribute” section at the bottom, please type in Dr. Hawkins’ name to appropriately designate your gift.