Lauded as Anti-fraud Trailblazer

Joseph T. Wells Honored with Doctorate Degree from York College, CUNY

By Dick Carozza
2010-JulyAugust-Dr Wells 1 
Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, founder and Chairman of the ACFE, receives the academic cowl as a recipient of a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Dr. Marcia V. Keizs, president of The City University of New York - York College, during the college's recent 40th commencement exercises.
“You might wonder what a guy from the dusty plains of Oklahoma has in common with all of you,” said ACFE Chairman and founder Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, to the graduating class of York College of The City University of New York after recently being honored with a doctorate degree. “The answer is: more than you think.

“Many of you have encountered challenges along the road in your lives; so did I,” Wells said. “As a child I was among the poorest of the poor. And my family didn’t provide me with a good role model when I was growing up. I came from what was then referred to as a ‘broken home.’ In fact, few people believed that I would ever amount to anything.”

But the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” was true for him, he said. His tough life experiences gave him the strength to eventually succeed. “If things have been difficult for you too, that will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.” 

During his remarks, Wells thanked President Marcia V. Keizs, the college faculty senators, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, and the CUNY Board of Trustees. “But special thanks are reserved for my friend and colleague, Professor Mary-Jo Kranacher, who nominated me.”

After the ceremony, which was York College’s 40th commencement, Kranacher spoke about Wells’ contributions to the field. “This honorary degree speaks to Dr. Wells’ lifelong dedication to anti-fraud education and how far fraud examination has come as a respected interdisciplinary field in academia,” said Mary-Jo Kranacher, MBA, CFE, CPA, chairperson of York College’s Accounting and Finance Department. Kranacher also is the ACFE Endowed Professor of Fraud Examination, a former member of the ACFE Board of Regents, and editor-in-chief of The CPA Journal, the official publication of the New York State Society of CPAs.

“Few other professions combine the knowledge, skills, and abilities from the variety of disciplines – accounting, business, economics, criminology, psychology, and law – needed for fraud examination,” Kranacher said. “Our global society has a responsibility to all the honest and hard-working people in every country to combat the problem of fraud with everything we have. I’m proud that York College has taken the lead by being the first to recognize Dr. Wells’ efforts and accomplishments in this vitally important area.” 

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