Judy Jones may have changed her major five times, but once she found the field of accounting and the accompanying opportunities it offered, “That was it,” she says. The more she was faced with challenges, the more she liked it.
One of only a handful of women who took the CPA exam in 1975, Jones helped break the gender barriers of the day. After working as a public accountant for a CPA firm in Louisville, she became, at the age of 24, the only female accounting manager for Rockwell International, a major manufacturing conglomerate at the time.
Jones was part of a team hired by Transylvania in 1980 to develop the business, economics and accounting division. She had enjoyed teaching in grad school and quickly learned the advantages of studying business and accounting in the context of a liberal arts education.
“It’s Transy’s approach to teaching that makes the difference,” she explains. “We teach our students both the methodology and the theory of accounting. Because accounting is part of a liberal arts curriculum, our students are more well rounded and better prepared to meet real-world challenges. When they go to work, they’re able to think on their own. Our students have a way of figuring it out.”
Jones points to the depth of training and the relationships between students and professors. “Students understand that when we push them, we care and have their best interest in mind. The more we require from them—the writing and presentations—the more we get from them,” she says. “They understand that.”
At Transy, faculty members help students translate the abstract into real world applications and experience. “Students have exposure to so much through Transylvania,” Jones adds. “Being in Lexington and part of an institution with a strong reputation in the community opens doors and creates opportunities for our students to interact with business leaders and professionals.”
On campus, accounting students participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, serving Lexington community members who qualify for help preparing their taxes. “It’s an amazing experience for our students,” Jones notes, “where they are exposed to the real world.”
Ultimately, Jones says she wants her students to apply the ethics they’ve learned to the professional world they enter. “I hope they feel confident to challenge things they think need to be challenged,” she says. “I hope they take with them the desire to continue to learn. And they take the knowledge they learned here and use it to help others. That’s the Transy way.”