Rider accounting professor named to NJBIZ's inaugural Vanguard Series

Dr. Evelyn McDowell is a recognized leader in creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in the field
Adam Grybowski

Dr. Evelyn McDowell, an associate professor of accounting at Rider University, was named to NJBIZ's inaugural Vanguard Series: Accounting.

The series recognizes people in the accounting profession who have made significant contributions to their firms, communities or the business in general over the past year.

"This impressive award speaks not only to Dr. McDowell's professional expertise but also, importantly, to her character," says Dr. Marge O'Reilly-Allen, chair of Rider's Department of Accounting. "She consistently impresses her colleagues with her many accomplishments and is a true asset to Rider University, its students and the field of accounting."

McDowell has been on Rider's faculty since 2005. Her classes include accounting theory, governmental accounting, principles of accounting and managerial accounting.

In 2011, McDowell created the Aspiring Accounting Professional Program at Rider University with Executive Advisory Committee member and retired Ernst & Young partner Allen Boston. The program combines tutoring and practical experience through an informal professional mentorship specifically to help underrepresented groups in the accounting field. It is sustained through a reoccurring grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. This year, KPMG, EY, EisnerAmper, Wilkin & Guttenplan, the Robert Wood Foundation and Johnson & Johnson each provided externships to Rider students.

McDowell sees the program as part of a remedy that addresses the severe lack of diversity that exists in several professional fields. She traces the causes of the problem to long-standing structural and racial inequalities that adversely affect poverty levels, family structures, housing patterns and educational opportunities in African-American and other underrepresented communities.

McDowell recognizes the crucial importance of the support she has received, especially as a young student. She says she would never have been able to become an accountant if not for Inroads, a nonprofit she joined in high school that aims to increase ethnic diversity in corporations through training and paid internships. The program helped her earn a bachelor’s in business administration from Baldwin-Wallace College. McDowell later added a master’s in accounting and a doctorate in philosophy from Case Western Reserve University.

Before coming to Rider, McDowell worked for the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Cleveland, and other governmental and nonprofit organizations. She also operated her own practice full-time for more than 10 years.

Rider's undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting are regularly recognized in national rankings for their excellence in preparing graduates for success in the field, including with the Big 4 accounting firms as well as large regional firms and major corporations. The accounting programs are housed under Rider's College of Business Administration, which holds dual AACSB accreditation in both accounting and businesses. Only 2 percent of schools worldwide hold dual accreditation.