Former UA Business School Dean Doyle Williams Dies at 81


Former UA Business School Dean Doyle Williams Dies at 81
Doyle Zane Williams, 81, former dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, died Sept. 29. (University of Arkansas)

Doyle Zane Williams, 81, former dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, died Sept. 29 in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Williams served as dean from 1993 through 2005. 

During his tenure, the college received a $50 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, created its Graduate School of Business and opened the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development. The college also rose to 28th from 48th in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of public undergraduate business schools.

Also while he was at the helm, the college launched the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, opened the Office of Diversity and Inclusion — now known as the Dr. Barbara A. Lofton Office of Diversity & Inclusion — and launched the Center for Business and Economic Research's annual Business Forecast Luncheon.

Williams began his academic career as an accounting professor at Texas Tech University in 1965. Then he worked for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, before returning to Texas Tech to teach. He eventually became the department chair.

In 1978, he was named dean of the School of Accounting for the University of Southern California and served as the interim dean of the USC School of Business Administration from 1986-88.

Upon his retirement from the UA in 2005, Williams was named dean emeritus of the Walton College and the university endowed a $1.5 million chair in his and his wife Maynette's honor. 

After retiring, Williams was a senior scholar at Kennesaw State University in Georgia and  executive director of the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program for the American Institute of CPAs Foundation from 2008-12.

Williams was inducted into the National Accounting Hall of Fame in 2020. In addition, he was president of the American Accounting Association, chaired the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business board, was president of the Administrators of Accounting Programs and was president of the Federation of Schools of Accountancy.

Williams earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from Northwestern State University in 9960, and a master's degree and Ph.D. in accounting in 1965 from Louisiana State University.