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    John C. (Sandy) Burton - 1932-2010
    memorial posted August 30, 2010 by Deirdre Harris, last edited October 27, 2011 by Tracey Sutherland, tagged 2010, memorial 
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    John C. (Sandy) Burton - 1932-2010
    1932 – 2010

    John C. (Sandy) Burton was born in New York City on September 17, 1932 and died in the same city on May 16, 2010. To Sandy, New York City was home in every sense.

    His B.A. was taken in political science at Haverford College in 1954. He obtained an M.B.A. in 1956 and a Ph.D. in 1962 from Columbia University. From 1956 to 1960, he was a staff accountant at Arthur Young & Company in New York City. His father, James Campbell Burton, was the firm’s senior partner until his retirement in 1956. Sandy loved baseball and keeping statistics for the Brooklyn Dodgers. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, Sandy was tempted to accept President Walter O’Malley’s invitation to go west with the team as the Dodgers’ chief accountant.

    From 1962 to 1972, he was on the accounting and finance faculty at Columbia, eventually becoming Professor. In 1972, Chairman William J. Casey tapped Sandy to become the Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a position he held until 1976. He was an activist Chief Accountant who was outspokenly critical of accounting and auditing practices as well as of the performance of accounting firms, and during his tenure the Commission issued a record number of Accounting Series Releases. In 1975, he launched the SEC’s series of Staff Accounting Bulletins, and, during an inflationary decade, he was responsible for the SEC’s requirement, instituted in 1976, that approximately one thousand large registrants disclose replacement cost information on merchandise and fixed assets in a supplement to their financial statements. He gave his speeches as Chief Accountant without notes, always tinged with wit and humor. His articles, many of which were drawn from his speeches, were pungent, insightful and progressive in spirit.

    From 1976 to 1977, he served for 18 months as Deputy Mayor for Finance of New York City, at a time of severe financial strain on the city. From 1978 until his retirement in 2002, he was Arthur Young (later Ernst & Young) Professor of Accounting and Finance at Columbia, and from 1982 to 1988 he was Dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Business.

    He was the AAA’s Academic Vice President from 1980 to 1982. Together with Bob Sack, he co-edited Accounting Horizons from 1989 to 1991. In 1997, he was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame at The Ohio State University.

    Sandy wrote or edited seven books and was the author of more than 50 articles.

    Sandy is survived by his wife Jane, daughter Eve, son Bruce, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

    Stephen A. Zeff.