Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
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 1993.
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.<signed>
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 Center.