UA Eller Professor Dan Dhaliwal was Leading Accounting Researcher

Aug. 1, 2016

Faculty Research
UA Eller Professor Dan Dhaliwal was Leading Accounting Researcher

July 7, 2016 – TUCSON, AZ – UA Eller College professor Dan Dhaliwal, one of the nation’s leading researchers in accounting, died in Houston on June 21. He was 71.

Dhaliwal, the Frances McClelland Endowed Professor of Accounting, was the head of the Department of Accounting at the Eller College of Management, a role in which he served since 1996. 

“Dan was a principled leader and an influential researcher,” said Paulo Goes, dean of the Eller College. “But the strength of the accounting department at the UA and the impact his research has had on policy are just part of his legacy. The other part is intangible – the many people he mentored, all of whom benefitted from the personal responsibility he felt for their success.” 

“Dan Dhaliwal’s passing is a huge loss to many in the academic accounting community,” said Dan Collins, department executive officer with the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. “He was known nationally and internationally for his outstanding research. Perhaps as much as anyone, he helped establish empirical tax research as a mainstream area of research in accounting. In addition, Dan was an outstanding mentor, helping launch the research careers of many doctoral students and young faculty members. Above all, Dan was a dear and loyal friend to many. He will be deeply missed.”

"I met Dan in 1992. Some people never get that one big lucky break in life. My lucky break was meeting Dan, and having him take me under his wing,” said Merle Erickson, professor of accounting at University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and a doctoral alumnus of the UA. “Dan changed my life. Not just my research and my career – my life. I think the same is true for many of Dan’s former students and colleagues. Dan was a terrific and well respected scholar. His scholarship was perhaps only surpassed by his quality as a person. I have long aspired to be as good a person as Dan was, but I know that is a mountain too high to climb. I am devastated to lose Dan, but am thankful that I was one of those fortunate enough to call him mentor and friend."

“It is impossible to overstate the influence Dan has had at Eller and the University of Arizona,” Jeff Schatzberg, interim department head, said. “He shaped the accounting department into what it is today.” Dhaliwal built lasting relationships with recruiters and worked to ensure that Eller alumni graduate with the skills and leadership potential that firms are seeking.

“I worked closely with Dan over the past 22 years and he was a great leader and mentor,” said Ron Butler, Arizona managing partner of E&Y and UA alumnus. “The Eller College, the Arizona business community, and the accounting profession has lost one of its most admired leaders. His steady hand and relentless dedication to the accounting department helped to elevate the Eller College during his tenure. Because of his leadership, Eller accounting graduates have been highly recruited by the accounting profession. These students demonstrate a commitment to leadership and professional development, key traits that Dan instilled in all of the accounting students. He was a friend, mentor, and advisor to me and so many others, and I am honored to have worked with him.”

Dhaliwal came to the UA from California State University to complete his master’s and doctoral degrees in accounting. Following his graduation in 1977, he served as an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Iowa; in 1979, he joined the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a visiting research fellow. He returned to the UA in 1980 as an associate professor of accounting. He served as acting head of the accounting department in 1984-1985 and was promoted to full professor in 1986. He was appointed department head in 1996.

Dhaliwal was a frequent contributor of articles to top accounting journals and served on numerous editorial boards, including The Accounting Review and Journal of Accounting Research, the former of which he also edited from 2005-2008. He was ranked first in the nation among authors contributing to accounting literature in the areas of tax and archival tax, ranked no. 2 for archival financial, and no. 6 for financial. In 2004, he was named the American Accounting Association’s Educator of the Year. 

“We will all miss his presence and impact so much, and we will miss our friend and colleague,” Schatzberg said. “I know I will be forever indebted to Dan for his mentoring and caring, and for essentially being my big brother.” 

A celebration-of-life memorial event will be held on Friday, September 30, 2016, at the Arizona Inn in Tucson, AZ. Please contact the Department of Accounting ( or 520.621.2620) at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona for more details, and for information on making financial donations in Dan Dhaliwal’s honor.