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Accounting Professor Robert Daniels Retires

News + Events : Accounting Professor Robert Daniels Retires


Professor Robert Daniels is retiring in spring 2009 after 25 years as an accounting professor at San Francisco State University.

Accounting Professor Robert Daniels

Bob came to us by an unconventional route. After receiving his B.A. in History (magna cum laude) from Harvard College and his J.D. (cum laude) from Harvard Law School, he worked in Washington D.C. for the Environmental Law Institute and as a Legislative Aide for Senator Patrick Leahy (D.-VT). His career then took him to the downtown San Francisco law firm now known as Bingham & McCutchen, with a practice focused on business litigation and securities fraud lawsuits.

Bob’s interest in understanding the tax aspects of these transactions led him to return to school, and in 1982 he obtained his Master of Laws (L.L.M.) in Taxation from Golden Gate University. Bob then decided to enter the academic world, following the example of his father (a Professor of Russian History at the University of Vermont) and his brother (a Professor of Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania).

Since joining us, Bob has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in tax and business law, as well as 800-level courses in tax research, tax policy, gifts and estates, state & local taxation and property transactions. He has also been active as an adviser for the student research and writing projects that are required for a master’s degree. He has a reputation as an excellent teacher who cares very much about student learning. Students have repeatedly commented on his enthusiasm, competence, humor and knowledge of the subject matter. Because Bob believes in connecting theory with practice, he has remained professionally qualified as an active attorney with a tax consulting specialty.

Bob thinks students need to understand that asking the right questions is often more important than knowing the right answers. He used the final sessions of his graduate class on legal and professional responsibility this fall to make students consider how the current financial market crisis will affect the future of the accounting profession. How was it, he asked, that giant companies like New Century, Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and AIG could collapse without warning, at huge cost to the public? Where were their auditors? Who is guarding the guardians?

Besides teaching, Bob has served the University as a strong advocate for faculty rights and academic freedom. From 2001 to 2004 he was a member of the Academic Senate and its Curriculum Review and Approval Committee. At the same time, he participated as a faculty representative on the University Budget Committee, where he studied the intricate details of our financial planning system. In the belief that the California Faculty Association plays a vital role in safeguarding faculty rights, he volunteered to be Treasurer of the local Chapter for five years. The Chapter budget stayed in balance. In addition to being on the Accounting HRTP committee for several busy years in the ’90s, Bob was acting chair of the department during the fall of 1994. He took the “acting” part of the job very seriously—so seriously that he attended the student honor society banquet that December dressed up in a Santa Claus suit and a big white beard passing out gifts and season’s greetings.

Bob Daniels has been a fine colleague.

We are sorry to see him go, and we wish him well!

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