Message From The President - Baruch College image
December 13, 2013
Dear Colleagues,
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of legendary alumnus, accountant, and Baruch College Professor Abraham J. Briloff (’37, MSEd ’41). In a profession known for integrity and character, he stood out as a champion of the highest principals and ethics. Professor Briloff was 96 years old.
To the world at large, Abraham Briloff was one of the most significant accountants of the last century: In June 2012, when he was about to celebrate his 95th birthday, The Journal of Accountancy named him among the "125 People of Impact in Accounting." His writings were prodigious and influential, including four books: Effectiveness of Accounting Communication; Unaccountable Accounting; More Debits Than Credits: The Burnt Investors' Guide to Financial Statements; and The Truth About Corporate Accounting. For three decades, he wrote a column for Barron’s in which he frequently discussed irregular accounting practices. His expertise also put him in demand as a speaker: on numerous occasions, he testified before accounting and governmental bodies. Briloff's work—steeped in the humanist tradition—earned him the title "the Philosopher-King of Accountants."
His alma mater's memories of one of its most-favored sons are proud, personal, and abundant. Born and educated in New York City, Briloff earned a BBA and an MSEd from City College/Baruch in 1937 and 1941, respectively. Upon mentor Emanuel Saxe's invitation, Abe joined our accountancy faculty in 1944, later earning a doctorate in accountancy and taxation from New York University in 1965. In 1976 he was named the Emanuel Saxe Distinguished Professor of Accountancy, a title (with an appended "emeritus") that he held until his death. He also served as a Baruch College Fund Trustee from 1969 to 1974 and was, at his death, a Trustee Emeritus.
A frequent visitor through 2013 to College events, Briloff was the beloved professor of scores of alumni and, as a testament to his admiration, in 1995 Baruch alumnus Charles Dreifus funded the Abraham J. Briloff Prizes in Ethics, awarded annually to a faculty member and a student. Additionally, Baruch's Newman Library hosts the Briloff Archive, an electronic compilation of his scholarly papers, articles, and letters.
The College's sympathies are extended to his entire family, especially daughters Leonore A. Briloff and Alice Ebenstein.
There is no question that the accountancy profession and Baruch College owe Professor Briloff a debt of gratitude. We are planning a memorial service to honor his lifetime of remarkable achievement. Memorial gifts are also being accepted to grow the Abraham Briloff Scholarship Fund, which was established in honor of Prof. Briloff’s 95th birthday in 2012.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Temple Beth El, 5 Old Mill Rd, Great Neck, NY
Mitchel B. Wallerstein
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