Accounting Professor Dr. Michael Granof Retires
1972. The year the Dow closed above 1000 for the first time in history. The year The Godfather hit theaters… and the year Dr. Michael Granof started working at the University of Texas at Austin. As we dive into his 47 years (yes, 47 years!) of being a Longhorn, let’s take a walk down memory lane and celebrate his legacy at UT.
Michael Granof was born and raised in New York City and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. He then studied economics at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Two years after receiving his BA, he graduated from Columbia University with an MBA concentrating in accounting.
After graduating from Columbia in 1965, Michael enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. He served one year of active duty and a total of six years in the reserves as an electrician’s mate. During two of the six years he was in the reserves, he worked as a Senior Accountant at Coopers and Lybrand in New York City. It was in the Big Apple that Michael discovered that his thirst for knowledge hadn’t been quenched. He decided to return to school to earn his doctorate in accounting from the University of Michigan. “I thought that I would enjoy teaching and the academic life,” Michael said. “Returning to graduate school was most definitely a decision that I never for an instant regretted.”
The move to Ann Arbor would change his life forever on a personal dimension, as well. It was on Michigan’s campus that he met his wife, Dena, at a graduate school coffee hour. The two have now been married 47 years.
After four years of graduate study at Michigan, Michael earned his PhD in 1972. He chose to teach at the University of Texas at Austin for three reasons: UT’s Department of Accounting was a top-ranked program, their faculty were involved in what he thought was an ideal mix of teaching, research, and professional engagement, and – most notably he claims – it was a great institution from which he could leave to teach at any other university after a few years. So he and Dena made the move to the Forty Acres. Much to their surprise, they loved UT and Austin and never left.
In addition to being on the faculty at the McCombs School of Business, Michael holds a joint appointment at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Over the course of his career, he was a Fulbright Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and taught at universities in New Zealand and Finland. He has also been recognized for his outstanding teaching, and in 1997 was inducted into the University’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers. In 2017 he received the AICPA’s Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award.
Michael is currently completing the second of two five-year terms on both the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB). The former establishes accounting standards for state and local governments; the latter for the federal government at-large and each of its components. He is the only academic to have served on both boards. “My most satisfying professional accomplishment (other than teaching) has been my service on the FASAB and the GASB. I believe that I have actually had an influence on a couple of the pronouncements that they have issued,” Michael said.
Also active in academic organizations, Michael has been chairman of the Government and Not-for-Profit Section of the American Accounting Association, was on the editorial boards of government-oriented journals, and was a member of the U.S. Comptroller’s General Educator Advisory Council for over 15 years.
Michael’s service has not only been to external organizations. He was heavily involved in University affairs as chairman of the Faculty Council and chairman of the UT Co-op’s Board of Directors. In 2007 he received the UT Civitatis Award, given for “meritorious service to the University above and beyond the regular expectations of teaching, research, and writing.” As fellow professor and friend Steve Kachelmeier said, “To this day, if the entire faculty of the Department of Accounting were to walk over to the central administrative offices at the Main Tower, Michael Granof would be among the first to be recognized. He epitomizes the spirit of academic service that elevates collective contributions over individual incentives.”
In addition to his service and academic publications, Michael is the author of textbooks on both financial and governmental accounting and has written op-ed pieces for the New York Times and other newspapers. He has testified before the Texas State House and Senate Committees and has appeared on NPR, CNBC, and MSNBC.
After retiring, Michael has a few things he’d like to accomplish, including traveling, spending more time with his grandchildren (he has three!), and giving back to the community by serving on a nonprofit board. But even in retirement, he’ll still be back on campus to visit his Longhorn family. Michael added, “I’ve often joked that the epitaph on my tombstone should read ‘He hung around with smart people.’ Nothing epitomizes that more than my colleagues, friends, and students in McCombs, the LBJ School, and the University at-large.”