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    Robert Raymond Sterling - 1931-2010
    memorial posted August 30, 2010 by Deirdre Harris, last edited October 27, 2011 by Tracey Sutherland, tagged 2010, memorial 
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    Robert Raymond Sterling - 1931-2010

    Robert Raymond Sterling had recently celebrated his 79th birthday. He was born in Bugtussle, Oklahoma, on May 16, 1931. Bob was one of those remarkable people who were born into a family that experienced genuine hardship and need – but who, by personal determination, resilience and sheer hard work triumphed over adversity to become a person of distinction, achievement and influence. Bob earned two degrees from the University of Denver – a BS in Economics and an MBA – and was awarded his PhD from the University of Florida in 1964, with a major field in Economics which was a pathway in his study for accountants at that time.

    In 1967, he was appointed to the faculty at the University of Kansas, was promoted to full professor in 1969, and named Arthur Young Distinguished Professor of Accounting in 1970. Four years later he was appointed as Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Management at Rice University, later becoming the founding dean of the then Jones Graduate School of Administration (now Business) at Rice. Following a visiting professorial appointment at the University of Alberta, Bob was engaged as Senior Research Fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board from 1981-83. In 1983, he was appointed as the Kendall D. Garff Distinguished Professor of Business Enterprise at the University of Utah – and, as he often quipped, as an Undistinguished Professor of Accounting. Bob remained at Utah until his retirement in 1991.

    Bob’s PhD dissertation was published as “Theory of the Measurement of Enterprise Income” by the
    University Press of Kansas in 1970. It remains one of the few truly great theoretical works in accounting. His second was titled “Toward a Science of Accounting,” published by Scholars Books, in 1980. Both works are accounting classics. Bob was twice awarded an AICPA gold medal, designated a Fellow by the National Science Foundation, appointed as the first Distinguished International Lecturer in Accounting from the USA by the American Accounting Association, and inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame at The Ohio State University. Sterling is survived by his wife Ley, his former wife and friend Margery, son Robert II, daughter Kimberly, and grandsons Robert III and Travis.

    --Peter W. Wolnizer, University of Sydney