University Mourns Longtime Management Professor
Konstans Created Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance at UT Dallas
Dr. Constantine “Connie” Konstans, who found his niche in accounting and education after earning a degree in music and serving in the military, died May 20 — the day before his 78th birthday.
Dr. Constantine “Connie” Konstans began teaching at UT Dallas in 1993.
A longtime professor in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, Konstans recently was honored with a UT Dallas endowed professorship in his name, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from D CEO magazine. Early this year he was named a 2013 Fellow of the Open Compliance and Ethics Group, a nonprofit to help organizations achieve principled performance in areas such as governance and assurance.
Those accolades and others highlighted more than 50 years of academic and other achievements. Through the decades, he developed a wide range of professional credentials. He had audit experience with “The Big Four” accounting firms, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst &Young, KPMG Peat Marwick and PricewaterhouseCoopers. His consulting clients included an advertising firm, an aerobics center, banks, government agencies, an oil-and-gas company, food services, major retailers and several electronics firms. He served on several corporate boards.
He also long lent his expertise — as a certified public and certified management accountant, a certified internal auditor and a certified fraud examiner — to professional causes. A past president and ongoing director of the local chapter of Financial Executives International, he had earned FEI’s Lifetime Achievement Award a few years ago, both for his contributions to the group and for creating the JSOM-based Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance.
“Connie Konstans was a brilliant professor who recognized the need early on to prepare students and executives for changing corporate governance and compliance regulations and expectations,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, provost and executive vice president at UT Dallas. “His courses and conferences influenced students and executives worldwide.”
Jindal School Dean and Caruth Chair of Management Dr. Hasan Pirkul said he was deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Konstans.
“For the past decade, Dr. Konstans taught students and executives alike the importance of sweeping changes in financial regulations and the corporate responsibilities they entailed by designing courses, organizing conferences and founding the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance,” Pirkul said. “He was a wonderful friend and colleague who will be greatly missed.”
Konstans earned a Bachelor of Music, with honors, from Indiana University in 1957.
His subsequent stint in the Army propelled him toward accounting. Assigned to a nuclear-capable surface-to-air missile battery in Milwaukee, he told D CEO, “I noticed that the most influential person on the base … was the comptroller.” That prompted him to take accounting courses, he said, and he realized that he had found his calling.
Konstans earned a master's in accounting from Ohio State University and a PhD in business administration from Michigan State University. He began teaching accounting full time at the University of Cincinnati and subsequently taught full time at Georgia State and Southern Methodist universities, as well as at the University of Memphis, before coming to UT Dallas in 1993.
As director of the accounting programs, he re-engineered the curriculum to reflect a then-new industry focus on information technology.
Former senior vice president at Citigroup Richard Bowen said that Konstans helped launch his teaching career at UT Dallas.
Visitation services will be held for Dr. Constantine Konstans at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, at 13555 Hillcrest Road in Dallas. A funeral service will be held at the church at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 24.
Bowen said Konstans’ IECG Corporate Governance Conference in 2007 helped him determine how to sound the alarm about problem mortgages, an issue Bowen later discussed before a congressional commission and on the 60 Minutes news program.
“Connie was a great guy. He was very influential in a lot of areas that many would never have known about,” Bowen said.
Survivors include his wife, Ekaterina Konstans; two sons, Stephen Konstans and Gregory Konstans; a stepdaughter, Anastasia Konstans; a brother, Clifford Konstans; and a sister, Mary Benson.
Dr. Constantine “Connie” Konstans recently had a professorship named after him, thanks to a donation from Ray Hemmig, a member of the UT Dallas Development Board. A recent photo shows Konstans with Hemmig (left) and Jindal School of Management Dean Hasan Pirkul (right).
Professorship to Honor Konstans
A recent gift to the UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management will ensure that Dr. Constantine “Connie” Konstans’ work to educate future business leaders about the latest in accounting and corporate governance will continue for years to come.
The JSOM has created the Constantine Konstans Distinguished Professorship in Accounting and Governance, thanks to a donation from Ray Hemmig, chairman of Retail and Restaurant Growth Capital, who also serves on the UT Dallas Development Board and the JSOM Advisory Council.
“The Constantine Konstans Distinguished Professorship in Accounting and Governance will honor Connie’s work, and ensure continued excellence in the corporate governance and accounting programs,” Hemmig said. “Connie’s unique focus and tireless work bridged connections between industry, students and research. Other schools may teach corporate governance, but Connie went beyond what you learn in a textbook. He made his lessons both believable … and actionable.”
Konstans, who taught at UT Dallas for 20 years, learned of the honor in the weeks before his death this week, calling it “the greatest award” of his career.
The professor founded the JSOM’s Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance in 2003 and created new courses and organized conferences in response to sweeping changes in financial regulations including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
JSOM Dean and Caruth Chair of Management Dr. Hasan Pirkul said the professorship will now serve as a tribute to Konstans’ legacy at UT Dallas.
“Thanks to the generosity of Ray Hemmig and others who have donated to the Constantine Konstans Professorship in Accounting and Governance, Dr. Konstans’ work on corporate governance will continue to benefit generations of students,” Pirkul said.
Hemmig’s donation to create the Constantine Konstans Distinguished Professorship in Accounting and Governance has inspired others to contribute to support the professorship. The JSOM will match all contributions to the fund.
Memorial donations in support of the Constantine Konstans Distinguished Professorship in Accounting and Governance can be made online or can be mailed to The Naveen Jindal of School of Management, The University of Texas at Dallas, SM 42; 800 West Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75080-3021. Please designate Constantine Konstans Distinguished Professorship Fund on the donation.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].