Meet Ida Austin
Ida Austin has worked diligently over the years to preserve the legacy of her husband, Richard H. Austin. Austin was the first African American CPA in Michigan and served as Michigan's Secretary of State for a record 24 years.
Starting his career as a shoe shiner in a local shoe store chain at the age of 12, Richard Austin's hard work and commitment did not go unnoticed by the shop owner. Soon he was taking on additional tasks, finally finding himself working as the bookkeeper for the entire chain. He worked during the day and attended classes at the Detroit Institute of Technology at night. Austin graduated in 1937 and became a licensed CPA in 1940.
Ida recalls her husband founding Richard H. Austin and Company, and running it out of their home. Ida worked as the company secretary, answering phones and helping with as much as she could to assist Richard in establishing his company's reputation. With limited options for African Americans to gain CPA exam qualifying career experience at the time, Richard H. Austin and Company presented the next six African American CPAs in Michigan the opportunity to gain the required experience in the field.
The Richard H. Austin Fund for Excellence in Accounting was created in 1989 as a tribute to Austin's career. The fund provides special lectures, programs and scholarships that recognize the academic achievements and career potential of under-represented accounting students in the School of Business Administration at Wayne State University.
Ida celebrates her 100th birthday on December 21, 2012. Join us in honoring an amazing milestone in Ida's life and furthering Richard H. Austin's legacy by helping to create educational opportunities for future generations of accountants.
Gifts can be made here to the Richard Austin Fund for Accounting Excellence in recognition of her 100th birthday. Specify in the "Other" section that the funds are for the Richard Austin Fund for Accounting Excellence.
To find out more about Richard H. Austin's life and achievements as told by Ida Austin, click here.View more spotlights