Photo Caption: (Left to Right) Jason Smith, Professor and EY Faculty Fellow and Chair of Accounting; Aaron Saiewitz, Associate Professor and UNLV Accounting Alumni Faculty Fellow; Rick Arpin, managing partner, KPMG; gerry sanders, Dean, LEE Business School
Rick Arpin, a seasoned finance and operational executive and 1995 graduate of UNLV’s Lee Business School with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, has a long history of giving back to his alma mater. From serving two terms on the board of directors of the UNLV Alumni Association -- and currently active on the Lee Business School chapter of the Alumni Association -- to acting as an advisor to the Department of Accounting and mentoring business students, it's no surprise Arpin is leading the way in launching the UNLV Accounting Alumni Faculty Fellowship. Associate professor of accounting, Aaron Saiewitz, has been named the inaugural recipient of the fellowship.
Arpin’s nearly three-decade-long career began at the Las Vegas office of Arthur Andersen, where his audit and consulting clients included many of the major gaming operators. He has held prominent roles at MGM Resorts including as Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller and Senior Vice President of Entertainment. Arpin is now the managing partner of the Las Vegas office of global accounting, tax, and consulting firm KPMG. He is responsible for growing the firm’s revenue across all service lines in Las Vegas and in the gaming industry.
As a leader in his industry, Arpin not only recognizes the importance of educating and developing the next generation of business leaders, he understands that it can’t happen without strong faculty members who are teaching in the classroom as well as doing meaningful research. The new fellowship is a way to provide critical resources to support the department of accounting in attracting, retaining, and supporting market-competitive faculty.
“In order for our community and my company to thrive, we need well-developed accounting graduates and that only happens when we attract and retain strong faculty,” said Arpin. “I am personally committed to the success of our accounting program and the Lee Business School. What is more inspiring to me is that many of my partners and the KPMG team in Las Vegas joined me in funding this fellowship. Together, we can ensure there are great things ahead for the UNLV Accounting department for years to come.”
Saiewitz, is a prime example of the type of faculty member the Department of Accounting wants to attract and retain. Saiewitz came to UNLV after a long and successful career in public accounting for a regional firm in New Jersey. Over time, he grew to love mentoring and training staff which eventually led to teaching an auditing class at Rider University. This ignited his interest in teaching, leading him to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Saiewitz has been teaching at UNLV for more than eight years and his practice experience serves as a major influence in the classroom as well as for his research. His students appreciate his practical perspective in addition to learning the concepts and theories of accounting. His teaching methods, along with testimonials from accounting alumni, led him to be selected as a recipient of the UNLV Foundation 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award. Additionally, his research on auditor-client communication and the impact of national culture on auditor judgment has been published in some of the premier accounting journals in the world.
The new fellowship joins a growing list of supporting resources for the department of accounting which includes two EY Faculty Fellowships, a Deloitte Faculty Fellowship, a Nevada Gold Mines Faculty Fellowship, and two endowed professorships: the Ted & Doris Lee Endowed Professor in Accounting and the Kenneth & Tracy Knauss Endowed Chair in Accounting.
"The primary factor that distinguishes an elite accounting program is its people: both its faculty and students,” said Jason Smith, chair of the department of accounting and EY Faculty Fellow. “In a very competitive labor market for full-time accounting faculty, the resources provided by fellowships like this allow us to attract and retain outstanding faculty who improve our programs with their efforts in the classroom, with their research, and in staying engaged with the professional community."
To give to the UNLV Accounting Alumni Faculty Fellowship visit https://engage.unlv.edu/acctfellowship.
About UNLV’s Department of Accounting
The UNLV Department of Accounting is individually accredited by the AACSB and is one of 33 U.S. universities to be endorsed by the Institute of Internal Auditors. The department has 16 full-time faculty members and offers both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting. Approximately 150 bachelor’s and 55 master’s students graduate from UNLV’s accounting programs each year. UNLV’s accounting faculty members strive to be excellent teachers whose research targets the highest-quality academic journals.
About Lee Business School
Lee Business School is one of the largest schools at UNLV with approximately 3,500 undergraduate students, 500 graduate students, and 100 faculty and staff and offers the only accredited business program in Southern Nevada. The school offers ten undergraduate majors, 14 minors and seven graduate degrees, including the MBA and Executive MBA programs. Lee Business School is among the top 5 percent of business colleges and schools worldwide to hold international dual accreditation in business and accounting by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the premier accrediting body for business and management education. In addition to its scholastic endeavors, Lee Business School is home to three centers that bring together faculty and students with business and industry. These include the Troesh Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), and Lied Center for Real Estate. With more than 20,000 graduates, the Lee Business School Alumni Chapter is one of the largest alumni chapters on campus.