Roger Luttrell has come a long way since he was an accounting student in the late 1960s.
Back then, he said, calculators weren’t even allowed during the CPA exam.
Things are different now, but one thing has remained constant: Luttrell’s unique ability to bring his vast experience in the business world into the classroom.
Luttrell, an accounting professor and chair of the economics, accounting and business department at Converse College, will be in Columbia this evening to accept his award from the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants as the state’s Accounting Educator of the Year.
Luttrell was informed of the honor by the Foothills Chapter of the SCACPA during its recent annual Student Night featuring local college accounting students.
"I was really deeply humbled," Luttrell said. "I was just flabbergasted when (the students) told me. I was totally shocked."
The annual award is presented to a full-time college accounting educator who exhibits excellence in classroom teaching and active involvement in the accounting profession, and has served as a liaison between the classroom and the business world.
Luttrell was nominated by Converse alumna Jada Wood, a Spartanburg accountant and former president and current board member of the Foothills SCACPA, which backed the nomination. The group’s current president, Wendy Hancock, a CPA with Swaim Brown in Spartanburg, said Luttrell has taught classes at the firm so she knows his expertise first-hand.
"While he’s very determined, he’s also light-hearted in the classroom and his classes are a lot of fun," Hancock said. "He’s just truly been an asset to our community, an asset to the profession in the state and I know he’s been an asset to Converse College. His wisdom, and his ability to communicate that knowledge to his students and make it fun, is phenomenal."
Luttrell, who credited his daughter, Dana Garner, an accounting instructor at the College of Charleston, with giving him ideas as a teacher, is a CPA in South Carolina and Ohio and has spent the last 36 years in both the public and classroom settings.
"I do try to bring the real-world stuff into the classroom," he said, "and explain things and work through example problems."
Luttrell, who also taught at what is now the University of South Carolina Upstate from 1978 to ’81, started with Converse part-time in 1985 and full-time in 1993. His nomination notes he has taught some classes without pay so the college could buy computers, furniture and projectors.