During the semester break the Department of Accounting, the College of Business and East Carolina University lost one our most accomplished and respected faculty members. On December 30, 2016, Dr. Rebecca Fay was involved in an auto accident in Roanoke, Virginia while she and her family were visiting friends for the holidays.
While Dr. Fay’s two young children and husband escaped the accident with minor injuries, Dr. Fay suffered serious injuries. After being rushed to a nearby hospital she was put on life support. When the doctors determined there was no hope for a recovery, life support was removed on Monday, January 2nd and Dr. Fay officially passed away on that date.
Dr. Fay joined the faculty at ECU in 2011 after earning her PhD in accounting at Virginia Tech. She previously earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Liberty University and was also a CPA in the state of North Carolina. She soon became a popular instructor in the classroom receiving positive feedback from the students in her classes. In 2015 Dr. Fay was awarded ECU's Scholar-Teacher Award for the creative manner in which she integrated her research into the classroom to enrich the students’ experience. Upon learning of Dr. Fay’s passing numerous former students expressed their sorrow and loss. One student shared: “I cannot believe such a sweet soul was taken so early. The accounting department just won't be the same. She was such a great professor who really enjoyed seeing her students excel.” Another student stated: “I am extending my heartfelt condolences at this time as I remember Dr. Fay. She was such a great person and always took her students' situations into consideration before assigning any projects. She always had great tips for interviews and genuinely cared about her students' futures.” One additional former student expressed: “She was a wonderful professor and such a valuable asset to the accounting department. The joy she had for teaching combined with the kindness she showed to everyone really made her stand out.” Similar comments were received from other former students of Dr. Fay’s.
Becky, as she was known to the faculty, was equally popular among her colleagues and was always friendly, polite and professional and never had an unkind word towards anyone. Becky served as President of Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for the College of Business, thereby providing students the opportunity to receive the academic recognition they deserve. The last two years Dr. Fay served as one of the faculty advisors to Beta Alpha Psi, the honor society for accounting majors, and brought innovation to the administration of the chapter.
Though her career was cut short, Becky still established an exemplary publication record in her field, having published in well-recognized accounting journals, including Journal of Accountancy, Issues in Accounting Education, the CPA Journal, Managerial Auditing Journal, Current Issues in Auditing, and Research in Accounting Regulation. She also made numerous presentations of her research at the American Accounting Association Audit Midyear meeting and annual conferences. At the August 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Accounting Association in New York City, Becky was recognized on stage for co-authoring the Best Paper Award in Issues in Accounting Education, a highly respected journal. All of her colleagues at ECU were proud to see Becky receive national recognition. The Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Stan Eakins, spoke of the loss of Dr. Fay’s to the College: “There are simply no
words to describe our sense of loss and our sympathy for her family. In addition to being a delightful colleague and friend, she was a rising star in the college. She will be tremendously missed.”
Devoted to her family, friends, profession and community, Becky was remembered at a funeral service in Lynchburg, Virginia on Saturday January 7. A memorial service will be held at 6:00 pm on Sunday, January 15th at Christ Presbyterian Church in Winterville, North Carolina.
She is survived by her husband Patrick who works for ECU as the Marketing and Communications Manager for Enrollment Services, and her two young children, Erin and Wilson. Though her life was far too brief, Dr. Fay will live on in the memory of her family and friends and her many former students and colleagues.
Douglas K. Schneider, PhD, CPA
Edwin B. Jones Family Endowed
Professorship in Accounting
College of Business
East Carolina University