New Accounting Academy at Kansas State University receives lead gift, marks first step toward School of Accountancy

Vern and Joan Herbel, McKinney, Texas, have given a gift to establish the Vern and Joan Herbel Accounting Academy in the College of Business Administration at Kansas State University.

The funds will enable K-State to promote the accounting program by providing online accounting classes for high school students, especially benefiting those in schools without business teachers. The funds will also support a Connecting Across Topics (CAT) Community for freshmen planning to major in accounting. Students in the accounting CAT Community will begin building relationships with students and faculty in their major at the beginning of their college career, helping them feel more connected right away. They will also develop college-success skills and participate in activities that expose them to the accounting profession, including a study trip to Washington D.C.

“The Vern and Joan Herbel Accounting Academy is the first pillar of our new School of Accountancy. This is truly a transformational gift and will help us raise our program to an even higher level of excellence,” said Brett Wilkinson, head of the Department of Accounting. “We appreciate this generous gift from the Herbels, who are dedicated and caring alumni. I like to think that with this amazing gift today, we will be recruiting the students who will become the Vern and Joan Herbels of tomorrow.”

The College of Business is working to elevate the Department of Accounting to a School of Accountancy, which will raise the program’s national profile through enhanced academic offerings and industry collaboration. This gift fuels the first step in recruiting and supporting students to the program and K-State.

“Gifts like this one from Vern and Joan Herbel help recruit students from Kansas and elsewhere by creating programming that is unmatched,” said Richard Myers, president of Kansas State University. “When students see that K-State and its alumni care to invest in outstanding programming that prepares them for a successful career, it makes the decision to come to K-State that much easier.”

Vern Herbel graduated from K-State in 1979 with a degree in accounting, and Joan received a degree in clothing and textiles from K-State in 1978. They both serve on the Board of Trustees of the KSU Foundation, and Vern serves on both the accounting and college advisory councils. In 2019, Vern was inducted into the K-State Accounting Hall of Fame in recognition of his distinguished career and his dedication to promoting the success of the accounting program.  

“Kansas State has been so instrumental in our success, and we wanted future K-State students to enjoy a similar experience,” said the Herbels. “The innovative approach of the accounting academy will be instrumental in attracting prospective accounting students and then retain them as they become accounting majors. This transformational program will differentiate K-State and uniquely position us to be a leader in accounting schools.”

As Kansas State University’s strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation inspires and guides philanthropy toward university priorities to boldly advance K-State family. Visit for more information.

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Jared Schiel

Jared Schiel Executive Development Officer- Business Administration


Darin Russell

Darin Russell Executive Development Officer – Business Administration