Georgia Southern University accounting school director dies of COVID-19

Coronavirus

STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) — The Georgia Southern University accounting community is mourning the loss of Dr. Timothy Pearson, who died of COVID-19 last month.

Coronavirus-related complications claimed his life on July 28. He was 63 years old. 

Pearson, who served as an accounting professor at three universities for over 30 years, was honored in a Facebook post by GSU’s School of Accountancy. 

The Madison, Wisconsin native and longtime educator served as the school’s director. 

“Please keep his wife and children in your prayers,” the post read. 

GSU’s Parker College of Business also left a heartfelt message on their homepage, calling the esteemed educator a “cherished member of our family” who would be “greatly missed.”

Pearson’s GSU colleague, associate dean for students and accounting professor Dr. Britton McKay, tells WSAV.com NOW she worked with Pearson since he started at GSU in 2012.

“Not only was he my boss, he was also my mentor and helped me move from an associate professor through the process of getting promoted to full,” McKay shared.

She says her supervisor, with his “big personality,” looked for the best in each and every student and always made efforts to bridge departments and programs at the university.

“He encouraged us to work outside of our own little bubbles, and when you lose a bridge person like that, it can be challenging,” McKay said. “We’ve lost a constant cheerleader, we’ve lost a very strong mentor for junior faculty and we’ve lost a strong Georgia Southern supporter.”

Prior to coming to GSU, Pearson instructed at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and West Virginia University, according to his online obituary.

While at WVU, Pearson left a memorable impact on one of his students, who says she still uses the knowledge he instilled in her to this day.

WVU graduate Julie Bee recalls taking Dr. Pearson’s accounting class in the fall of 2001, and tells WSAV.com NOW that she and about 75 students were in his lecture hall as terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. 

“He was the person who told us because [back then], you didn’t have internet on your phone,” Bee said.

“Then somebody asked him, you know, ‘what should we do?’ and he said, ‘go home, go be with people that love you and that you love,” Bee shared. “That was such an impactful moment for me because you just don’t expect your college professor to say that to you.”

The 12-year business owner, who runs Bee Smart Social Media and leadership training platform Lead From Anywhere, says Dr. Pearson’s teaching played a big part in her success as an entrepreneur.

Bee found out about her former professor’s death from an old classmate.

Pearson was the first person she knew personally who had succumbed to COVID-19 complications. She says his death is one that didn’t have to happen.

“He probably had several more years teaching doing something that he loved, that he was good at,” Bee said. “It just hit me in my core, and it’s just so sad that he passed away and that COVID-19 took yet another brilliant teacher, brilliant leader from us.”

In a spring 2020 newsletter to the School of Accountancy, Pearson addressed his staff on the changes that were occurring as the pandemic began to unfold.

“This is an extraordinary time for the world, our country and our profession; much is unknown or uncertain,” Pearson wrote. “What is certain is the need for folks in the accounting profession to be vigilant and informed and to be flexible and adaptable in their response to these changing times.”

Pearson was a father of four children and a husband of 35 years.

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