Alvin A. Arens
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Alvin A. Arens Okemos Passed away on December 6, 2010 at the age of 75. Al was born on November 24, 1935 in Marshall, MN to the late Clarence and Marie (Verdeck) Arens. After graduating from Marshall High School he went on to serve in the US Army for two years. Al graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.B.A in Accounting and went on to work with CPA firms Ernst & Ernst and Boulay, Anderson, Waldo, & Company for four years before continuing his education and getting a PhD. He went on to teach for 38 years at Michigan State University. While there, he co-authored an Auditing text book, developed and grew AHI, a continuing education training program for CPA firms, coauthored and published a systems understanding aid for auditing programs for college students, and published countless articles that covered accounting and auditing practices and standards. He also received a PricewaterhouseCoopers Professorship, Educator of the Year from the AICPA, served as Department Chair, was a former President of the American Accounting Association, and was recognized for his leadership, teaching, and dedication to the profession of accounting. Al enjoyed being a member of the Okemos Community Church and Kiwanis. He participated and led troop 125 when his boys were young and enjoyed supporting his wife in her MSU Faculty Folk interest groups and artistic endeavors. He spent countless hours enjoying MSU sports and travel with friends and family. Al and his wife, Irene, have supported the MSU community through contributions to the Spartan Fund, Scholarships, and Department of Accounting. Al is survived by his wife of 50 years, Irene; sons, John and Scott (JoAnne); daughter, Linda; siblings, Loyal (Dorothy), Eleanor, Margaret (John); grandchildren, Kelsey, Jacob, Karina, Victoria; and many loving nieces and nephews. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 4:00 p.m., at the Okemos Community Church. The immediate family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Michigan State University Development Fund,"Al Arens Teaching Excellence Fund", 300 Spartan Way, East Lansing, MI 48824; Okemos Community Church Building Renovation Fund, 4734 Okemos Rd, P.O. Box 680, Okemos, MI 48805 or Sparrow Hospice, C/O Sparrow Foundation, P.O. Box 30480, Lansing, MI 48909. On-line condolences may be made to

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Published in Lansing State Journal on Dec. 8, 2010.
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13 entries
December 15, 2010
Gary and I have recently relocated to Colorado Springs and we have just learned about Al's death from our friend, Jane Barclay. Gary and I enjoyed Al very much and it is because of him we sent Elizabeth to Chicago to the aptitude testing school. We were always grateful to Al for that advice and suggestion.

Our thoughts are with your family.
Ann Leago
December 11, 2010
I am so sorry to have missed his service. He was a major influence in my life as a result of growing up down the street, having him as a Prof at MSU, being part of OCC and seeing so many times in Charlevoix over the years. He was one of the reason I became a CPA. I will miss him. My condolences. Mark Jennings.
Mark Jennings
December 11, 2010
I first encountered Al in an elevator at the MSU Eppley Center in 1968. I didn't know who he was, and I can't remember what he said, but he was very passionate about it. I always found it interesting that I never forgot that encounter, but that was quintessential Al - he had an amazing impact on people.

I later took his auditing course, and I got to know him well while I was in graduate school as a teaching assistant. A lifetime friendship had begun.

20 years later I engaged Al to facilitate client group sessions at Arthur Andersen. His energy and passion were amazing. He would never take the compensation that was offered, asking me instead to have Andersen make a contribution to MSU.

25 years ago, I began visiting MSU every year for a weekend of football and visits with Students from my hometown in the UP. The Saturday night dinners with Al and Irene (and Harold and Lois Sollenberger and members of my family) were always the highlight of the weekend. Al would always spark a controversial conversation about something. His passion was contagious.

Sometimes Al and I would meet on Sunday morning for breakfast before I departed for home. We did this when Andersen went out of business because Al was concerned about how I was doing. Our last dinner and breakfast were this past September. That was a tough weekend.

Al and I talked by phone many times this past year, often about football or basketball. Sometimes we talked about Al's family - he was so concerned about Irene, the love of his life.

I admired Al and the way he handled his illness. He was an inspiration to everyone.

Energy, passion, compassion, generosity, love, friendship, compassion, inspiration - these are the things I will remember about Al. I already miss him a lot.
Gary Peterson
December 11, 2010
Al was a kindhearted and loyal friend to many of us in Accounting Education. He and I first met when he invited me and a few other seasoned discussion leaders to observe his skill in conducting one of his five-day seminars for CPA firm participants from throughout the U.S. Afterward, he and Irene invited a few of us to dine and relax at their home in Okemos. Al was always a family man, first and foremost. Nevertheless, Al was also a dynamic, energetic, and pleasant seminar leader, who excelled in stimulating participation of those attending any of his off-campus discussion groups. Although he distinguished himself as a legend in Accounting literature and education, his Minnesota farm-boy charm never lost its glimmer. I learned much from this gifted and genial colleague. Thanks Al for your patience and confidence that you so freely shared with so many of us.

Joseph "Joe" Krebs
Chiang Mai, Thailand
December 10, 2010
Al was my audit professor at MSU in 1970. He was a very dynamic, interesting and challenging instructor- easily the best of any I had in college. Over the years I recommended to many, many MSU accounting students that they take one of his classes. He was also instrumental in helping me get my first job in public accounting. I ran into him a few times over the years - at seminars, a father-daughter Girl Scout weekend, a Girl Scout roller skating outing - and was flattered that he remembered who I was. A few years ago I left an accounting question on his voice mail. He responded with an answer the following day that helped me resolve a difficult accounting issue I was having with a client. He will be greatly missed.
David Haddrill, CPA
December 10, 2010
Great professor we had used his research and book in Iran.The accounting profession shpould prude to Al and others samr Al because every centry we can find onle some persons honorable same Al.
Gholamhossein Davani
Gholamhossein Davani
December 9, 2010
may his soul rest in peace
Adedoyin Kassim
December 9, 2010
Decmber 9, 2010

Dear Irene,

Al and I went back to 1964 when he was an Ernst & Ernst instructor in the Minneapolis office and I was a Summer Intern. We then officed very briefly at the University of Minnesota where he was a Ph.D. student and I was a Masters of Science student.

I have always considered Al a friend and an example to be emulated. We did not talk often but it was always easy to re-enter the old relationship. He was that kind of guy. I looked to his behavior for guidance in both professional and personal matters. His treatment of his children in a time of need was an inspiration. He was one of the nicest people I have known.

Al will be remembered and missed by all of us. Irene and I wish you the very best in these difficult times.

Andy and Irene Bailey
December 9, 2010
Gail and I were deeply saddened to hear about Al. I first met Al when he was a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota while I was on the faculty there. Many years later we had the opportunity to work together for three years as members of the AAA Executive Committee. Since Al followed me as President, we worked closely together on several issues and programs. Al was truly an outstanding leader and a talented speaker. He was very articulate and dynamic even when speaking without notes. His contributions in auditing and his interest in effective teaching are widely known and will continue to benefit many.
Irene: Gail and I have fond memories of our dinners and other times together. Al will be missed by all those who knew him.
John Simmons
December 9, 2010
Al was a great inspiration to me as an Auditing educator. His well structured and written Auditing text with its remarkable variety of auditing problems, affected the direction of my research and gave me a passion for teaching auditing these past two decades, a passion which continues. I'm sad to hear he's passed away but also want to celebrate a life well lived.
Bob Tucker
December 9, 2010
Great professor I had in my audit class at MSU. One thing that sticks in my memory was he said to all class that "There is only one thing in this world that no one can ever steal it from you is your knowledge!!" Rest in peace Professor Arens!!
Vivian Cao
December 8, 2010
My deepest sympathies go out to Al's family. My father and I were so saddened to learn of his illness a couple years back. He fought very hard.

I had the pleasure of meeting Al for the first time in 1992, when my father, Gary Peterson, came to visit me at MSU. My father met Al during his graduate work at MSU. I never had the pleasure of taking any of Al's courses, but I remember my friends speaking very highly of him and his "Accounting is Fun" sweatshirt. I did, however have the pleasure of having dinner with him and Irene on many occasions, with my father and the Sollenbergers. His wit kept us laughing and his intensity and passion for life was contagious. His dedication to MSU was unwavering and I loved hearing his take on the Spartan football or basketball season. I am glad Al got to see such an amazing football season this year. My annual trips to MSU will never be the same without him, but I will remember Al with great fondness and a smile on my face.


Jennifer Peterson Hogervorst
Jennifer Hogervorst
December 8, 2010
Dear Irene and Family,

Carlene and I were so sorry to hear the sad news of Al's passing. We fondly remember our time spent with you and Al when we were serving on the AAA Executive Committee.

Al was a very compassionate person, who cared about his friends and loved his family. I always had the greatest respect for his direct nature and thoughtfulness when dealing with sensitive issues. He was never reluctant to face controversy head on when he believed he was on the side of right.

I know you will miss him. But, his legacy will be the warmth with which his many former students and colleagues remember all that he did for them and his profession.


Jerry and Carlene Searfoss
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