Harold Arnett, a University professor emeritus of accounting, died Sunday after being ill for a long period of time.
A faculty member at the Business School since 1962, Arnett served as the head of the Accounting Department from 1969 until 1972, along with participating in a number of local, national and international organizations over time.
Friends and colleagues spoke fondly of Arnett, noting his outgoing and kind character, and describing him as someone always willing to help a student or co-worker in need.
Paul Danos, dean of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, taught at the Ross School of Business with Arnett from 1975 to 1995. Danos expressed his gratitude that he had the chance to work with Arnett.
“He was a senior colleague when I got (to the Ross School of Business),” Danos wrote in an e-mail interview. “I think of him more as a mentor than a colleague. He was extremely helpful and receptive as I worked my way through the ranks at Michigan.”
Arnett wrote numerous articles on accounting and co-authored seven books after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, according to Feb. 8 Ross School of Business press release. Additionally, he held positions on committees for several business groups.
Though Arnett retired from the Business School in 2001, his legacy of being a fun and goodhearted educator will continue, Danos wrote.
“He was what they might call now ‘old school’ and I, as a freshly minted Ph.D. with more confidence than understanding, learned to appreciate his wisdom and clear thinking,” Danos wrote.
Danos wrote that in the 20 years he and Arnett worked together, their families became close and Danos cherished their friendship.
“Once, we were all driving together to Ann Arbor from Mackinac Island after presenting a paper to an accounting meeting,” Danos wrote. “He and my daughter Melissa, five years old at the time, regaled us for hours us with their rhymes and jokes.”
Eugene Imhoff, an Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting and one of Arnett’s colleagues at the Business School, wrote in the press release that Arnett loved to share stories and entertain.
“He always had a story to tell, like teaching at U-M during the demonstrations in the Vietnam era and having to lock the doors to the classrooms,” Imhoff wrote.
Danos wrote that not only will Arnett’s warm personality be greatly missed, but also his intellectual insights.
“He was passionate about accounting theory and would argue points about the underlying meaning of a concept, say owners’ equity, that even I, who pretended to be a fellow theorist, could not always follow at first,” Danos wrote.
Arnett’s family will hold a memorial reception in his name on Sunday, Feb. 13, from 2-4 p.m. at the Ann Arbor City Club.
Arnett, a U.S. Navy veteran, had three children and four grandchildren, and is survived by his wife Betty, according to the press release.