Dave Kerslake (‘14) gained much-needed balance in his life after receiving the Stephen and Carolyn Conforti Endowed Scholarship in Accounting at Washington State University.
His financial responsibilities became more manageable and the burden was eased on his family in supporting his college career. “I am now able to attain a master’s degree from WSU with very minimal financial impact in comparison to other universities’ programs,” Dave says.
Foremost, the scholarship reassures his parents that their investment in his education may one day pay off. Dave graduated magna cum laude in May 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and immediately entered WSU’s graduate school. He hopes to blend his well-rounded education with on-the-job experience to become a knowledgeable and capable accounting professional.
“I hope to create a positive impact in the business world,” Dave says.
Steve Conforti (’84) and his wife, Carolyn, created the scholarship to help accounting students build a solid foundation for future success. They have been WSU President’s Associates for eight years.
“We have both enjoyed rewarding careers that started with great college educations,” Steve says. “We have also seen the daily investment of faculty, staff, and students in creating a world-class educational experience within the Carson College of Business.”
The scholarship has a secondary purpose, as well. Steve and Carolyn want to shine a light on the diverse opportunities available in the accounting profession. “While many accounting graduates go on to work in public accounting, a number of them also choose careers in industry working as staff accountants, business analysts, accounting managers, controllers, and CFOs,” Steve says. “We saw an opportunity to emphasize and support this career path while also providing financial support to high-achieving students.”
The couple met 30 years ago at the start of their respective careers. Steve joined The Boeing Company upon graduating from WSU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He has worked in Boeing’s defense and space divisions and currently serves as Director of Financial Accounting at the company’s corporate office. He says his undergraduate experience sparked an interest in pursuing graduate school and the certifications that have helped in his professional success.
Carolyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana with a degree in computer science/systems analysis. She began her career at Boeing, then worked as an IT consultant for six years before returning to the company. She currently serves as Enterprise Master Data Management Architect for Boeing, where she is partnering with the business to define and implement common, shared information solutions.
Steve’s career at Boeing enables him to give back to his alma mater in meaningful ways. He is a member of the Accounting Advisory Board and National Board of Advisors for the College of Business, and he served as Boeing focal for the college.
Carolyn shares her husband’s enthusiasm for WSU and enjoys attending events that put them in touch with faculty and students. Their daughters, ages 15 and 11, join them on road trips to Pullman to attend football games.
“One of the great things about WSU is that we all understand what it means to be a Coug,” Steve says. “We take great pride in our university. Whether it is spending time supporting an event or project or making a monetary contribution, all of us have the capacity to give back to WSU in some way.”