RAY M. SOMMERFELD
Ray M. Sommerfeld, who held the James L. Bayless/Rauscher
Pierce Refsnes, Inc. Chair Emeritus in Business Administration, died
in a drowning accident at Lake Travis near Austin on August 8, 1995,
two days before his sixty-second birthday. He had taken his seven-year-old
grandson to the lake to fish.
Dr. Sommerfeld was born on August 10, 1933, in Sibley,
Iowa, and graduated as class valedictorian from Hampton Public High
School in Hampton, Iowa. Dr. Sommerfeld received a bachelor's degree
in commerce in 1956, a master's degree in accounting in 1957, and a
doctorate in economics in 1963all from the University of Iowa.
From 1957 through 1960, he served with the Auditor-General
Squadron, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. He was discharged from active
duty in 1960 with the rank of first lieutenant and from the U.S.A.F.
Reserves in 1965 with the rank of captain.
He joined the faculty at The University of Texas at
Austin in 1963. Except for a two-year period when he served as partner
and national director of tax education with Arthur Young & Company,
Dr. Sommerfeld remained on the faculty at Texas until he retired in
During his distinguished career, Dr. Sommerfeld received
many awards, including the Iota Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Outstanding
Professor (1992), CBA Foundation Award for Excellence in Education (1992-93),
Texas Society of CPAs Distinguished Educator Award (1992-93), American
Taxation Association Outstanding Tax Educator Award, which was subsequently
named for him (1993), and the American Accounting Association Outstanding
Accounting Educator Award (1994).
Dr. Sommerfeld wrote or coauthored eleven textbooks,
including fourteen editions of An Introduction to Taxation (Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich) and ten editions of Federal Taxes and Management
Decisions (R. D. Irwin). His influence on tax education was profound.
In his lifetime he was considered the preeminent person in his field.
He made numerous presentations to accounting firms,
state societies of CPAs, the American Institute of Certified Public
Accountants, and tax conferences around the world. In addition, he served
in many administrative capacities and on numerous committees at the
departmental, college, and university levels.
Recognized internationally for his many contributions
to accounting and tax education, he served as president of the American
Taxation Association in 1975-76 and of the American Accounting Association
in 1986-87. At the time of his death, he was scheduled to travel to
the former Soviet Union as the American Accounting Association's Distinguished
International Lecturer in 1996.
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
Biographical sketch prepared by Nancy Richey
and posted on the Faculty Council web site on December 4, 2000.
Additional biographical sources can be found in the UT Austin
Department of Accounting, Office of Public Affairs, Office of
the Executive Vice President and Provost, and Barker Texas History