For release: November 24, 2008
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843
William H. “Bill” Watkins Jr., Memphis CPA and graduate of the University of Memphis,
was honored by his alma mater last Friday when a classroom in the Fogelman College
of Business & Economics was named for him. Room 128 is a 144-seat auditorium, where
many students are taught accounting principles.
William H. “Bill” Watkins Jr., second from right, is congratulated by, from left,
Dr. Shirley Raines, president of the U of M; his wife, Jeannette; and Dr. Charles
Manning, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents. (UofM photo by Lindsey Lissau)
The naming ceremony capped an evening of awards and recognition of new members of
Beta Alpha Psi, a professional society for accounting students. Taking part in the
recognition of Watkins were Dr. Shirley Raines, president of the University of Memphis,
and Dr. Charles Manning, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, which governs
the U of M and 44 other public higher education institutions in Tennessee. Watkins
has served as a TBR member since 1996.
“Naming a room in our Fogelman College where accountancy students learn their profession
is a fitting tribute to Bill Watkins, himself a graduate of the University and now
a successful and respected certified public accountant,” said Raines. “Because of
his commitment to the future of accountancy education and education in general, it
is very appropriate that a classroom in the business building bear his name. It is
not only a legacy for him, but it will be inspiring to generations of future accountants
who will graduate from Bill’s alma mater and who will maintain the standards that
he has helped set for the profession.”
Watkins graduated cum laude with a B.B.A. degree in accounting in 1967. He began his career in public accounting
with a large local firm, served as controller for the sixth largest industrial security
firm in the U.S., and was divisional controller for a subsidiary of the security firm.
He returned to public accounting in 1971, founding the firm of Watkins and Watkins,
which is now Watkins Uiberall, PLLC.
Watkins has been an active contributor to his profession, community organizations,
the Fogelman College, and the U of M. In 1996, he was appointed to the Tennessee
Board of Regents (TBR), the statewide governing body for 45 state educational institutions
with a combined enrollment of more than 190,000 students, the nation’s sixth largest
system of higher education. He has served as chairman of TBR’s Audit Committee.
He also serves on the U of M’s voluntary advisory body, the Board of Visitors, and
has been president of the National Alumni Association of the U of M. He is a lifetime
member of the National Alumni Association.
Watkins was a founder of the Nashoba Bank, which was sold to Trustmark Bank in 2001,
and served as its director and vice chairman. He is also past chairman of the board,
Americas Region, of BKR International.
He has been chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party, and he served on the State
Political Subcommittee of the Tennessee Society of CPAs (TSCPA). He also was on the
legislative committee of the West Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors,
Watkins has been active with Christ United Methodist Church, the Germantown Performing
Arts Centre, the Economic Club of Memphis, and the Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts
In 1977 he was named Outstanding Young Man in America, and for 1979-80 he was recognized
in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and Who’s Who in Politics.