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WCU announces FORVIS as new name for its accountancy programs

forvis crawford

Michael Crawford, a 1987 graduate of WCU and chief performance officer for FORVIS, discusses the history of his accounting firm’s support of the university.

Western Carolina University leaders gathered with representatives of the nation’s eighth largest accounting firm Friday, Dec. 2, to mark a subtle but meaningful change in the College of Business as its accountancy programs now have a new name.

Previously christened the Dixon Hughes Goodman Accountancy Programs in recognition of $1 million in gifts and pledges in 2015 from more than 50 WCU alumni employed by the firm, the programs are now called the FORVIS Accountancy Programs.

The name change comes in the wake of the recent merger of the limited liability partnerships known as Dixon Hughes Goodman and BKD to create a new firm called FORVIS. The new moniker stands for “forward vision,” said Michael Crawford, a 1987 WCU graduate who serves as FORVIS chief performance officer.

“Dixon Hughes Goodman has a long, proud history of partnership with and support of Western Carolina University’s College of Business and its accountancy programs, and that will continue under the banner of FORVIS,” said Crawford, who serves on the WCU Foundation Board of Directors. “While the name of our company may have changed, our ongoing commitment to WCU’s accountancy programs remains unwavering.”

The WCU Board of Trustees approved the change as part of its quarterly meeting Sept. 2, and the unveiling of the new name for the accountancy programs followed the trustees’ December meeting earlier in the day.

Ken Hughes, a member of the board and a 1974 graduate of WCU, is among the retired founders of Dixon Hughes Goodman, and he helped shepherd the firm’s initial financial contributions to the accountancy programs.

The firm’s pledge of $1 million in philanthropic support made in 2015 was not only met but was surpassed in 2021, less than six years first after being announced.

“Western Carolina University’s College of Business has worked with DHG for a long time, and they have been huge supporters of our university long before I even became chancellor. Many of their employees are WCU alumni and have generously chosen to give back to their alma mater time and time again,” Chancellor Kelli R. Brown said in announcing the switch to the FORVIS name. “The WCU team and I look forward to working with each of you in the future, and I personally can’t wait to see what we will accomplish together.”

forvis crettol

Senior accountancy student Owen Crettol delivers remarks thanking donors for helping change the lives of students.

Speaking to a crowd of about 60 FORVIS representatives, faculty members, administrators and students, Owen Crettol, a senior studying accountancy, thanked the donors of DHG and FORVIS for “making dreams come true” and changing the lives of students.

“When I first walked into class, it was a room full of introverts that you couldn’t get to talk to you if you tried. We were all convinced that we would sit in little cubicles for the rest of our lives and disappear. It was in this room full of introverts that were either too afraid or uninterested in talking to each other that the faculty here at Western Carolina brought us out of our shells. That’s the kind of life-changing power that the Western Carolina accountancy department has and that FORVIS has enabled through generosity and commitment,” said Crettol, a Hendersonville resident.

“If we were truly honest with ourselves, we wouldn’t have actually wanted to be in a cubicle all our lives. We had to be brought out of our comfort zone, not only to learn accountancy, to learn how to audit, to learn how to do taxes. We had to learn to be better people. We had to learn how to navigate a complex world that we knew very little about. In that, I believe Western Carolina, with the help of FORVIS, has excelled incredibly,” he said. “They will not only make you a better accountant, they will make you a better person.”

A.J. Grube, dean of the College of Business, said the support of alumni and friends such as Crawford and Hughes has been instrumental to the accountancy programs and other areas in the college.

“Dixon Hughes Goodman has supported our accountancy programs and the College of Business in so many ways over the years. The service on advisory boards by numerous firm employees, coaching and recruitment of students, and establishment of scholarships have enabled a top-notch experience for our students,” Grube said.

“I’m proud of the partnership we enjoy with DHG and I’ll forever be grateful. Moving forward, I’m excited about continuing this relationship with FORVIS. I know that great things are ahead,” she said.

The FORVIS Accountancy Programs focus on courses in general business, auditing, law, tax and other accounting-related functions leading to the bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on accounting. WCU also offers a minor in accounting, with a master’s degree in accountancy offered at the off-campus instructional site at Biltmore Park in Asheville.

A professional services firm providing assurance, tax and advisory services, FORVIS has more than 5,500 professionals who serve clients in all 50 states and internationally. “FORVIS is driven by the commitment to use our forward vision to deliver ‘unmatched client experiences,’” Crawford said.

For more information about naming opportunities at Western Carolina University, contact the WCU Division of Advancement at 828-227-7124 or

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