Remembering Beau Parent

Beau Parent taught accounting at the Freeman School for 37 years, including teaching the required introductory accounting class to every incoming undergraduate student.

Beau Parent taught accounting at the Freeman School for 37 years, including teaching the required introductory accounting class to every incoming undergraduate student.

Within moments of the announcement, the tributes began to pour in.

“He was a legend. Gone but never forgotten.”

“Hands down, the best accounting professor I ever had.”

“My favorite professor. Loved him so much that I became a CPA.”

“Great professor. Even better person.”

“Beau is the reason I got my Master of Accounting, have a job at a
top accounting firm, passed my CPA exam, and am so happy with my
post-Tulane life.”

“You could poll 100 former B-school students about who their favorite professor was and all 100 would say Beau.”

The accolades were for Freeman School accounting instructor Beauregard J. “Beau” Parent Jr., who died unexpectedly on July 20 while vacationing with his wife in New Mexico. He was 73.

Parent taught accounting at the Freeman School for more than 35 years, sharing his love for the discipline with thousands of students and earning a reputation as one of the most beloved professors in school history. Parent’s trademark catchphrases — “Make sense? Make sense?” – have become the stuff of school legend.

“He was an extraordinary teacher,” says Michael Hogg, associate dean for undergraduate education. “If you look at why students have fond memories of the Freeman School and Tulane, in large measure it’s Beau Parent. He created those memories through his teaching.”

“When I was a student in the Freeman School’s PhD program, I was told to learn how to teach by sitting in on Beau’s classes,” adds Karen Foust, a longtime friend and colleague of Parent’s. “He was a role model for teaching.”

Parent taught MBAs, PMBAs and EMBAs during his long career, but probably his greatest impact was in the BSM program, where he taught introductory accounting to every incoming undergraduate business student for the last 33 years. Nearly 16,000 students took Parent’s course in that time, learning the rules of accounting the same way Parent had learned them — “Debits on the left by the window, credits on the right by the door!”

But Parent’s devotion to his students went beyond the classroom. As founder and director of the school’s five-year BSM/MACCT program, Parent spent hours with each student meticulously designing class schedules to enable the student to take the CPA exam in whatever state he or she hoped to practice in.

“He was the only one to do that,” says Hogg. “He was also one of the few people I know who could pick up the phone and call almost any accounting firm around the country and get a kid a job. Part of the five-year undergraduate program requires a busy-season internship,
and he would arrange those all over the country, which is probably why the placement rate for that program is almost 100 percent.”

A native of New Orleans, Parent graduated from Jesuit High School and Loyola University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and later an MBA. He began his career as an internal auditor and accountant, working for companies including Bank of New Orleans, Avondale Shipyards, Haskins & Sells CPAs, and W&A Engineers. He also operated his own CPA practice for many years. In 1971, he began teaching accounting part time at the University of New Orleans. He later enrolled in the accounting doctoral program at Louisiana State University, where he completed all the necessary requirements for a PhD in accounting with the exception of writing a dissertation. He joined the Freeman School in 1977 as an adjunct professor of accounting, and he became a full-time faculty member in 1990.

Parent is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Schiro Parent; three daughters, Lisa Parent Hickey, Christine Parent Smith and Colette Parent Raphel; a brother, Clifford Parent; a sister, Shirley Kelso; and five grandchildren.

“He was such a life force for all of us, his absence is felt,” says daughter Christine Smith, a professor of practice at the Freeman School. “We’ve always known his impact on people’s lives in our heads and our hearts, but to read all the emails and see all the posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, it’s literally overwhelming. I’m just so appreciative of this outpouring of love and support. Each expression brings a comfort beyond measure.”

A scholarship fund has been created in Professor Parent’s honor to recognize his lifetime of teaching and extraordinary commitment to students. The Beau Parent Scholarship Fund will benefit top Tulane undergraduate students pursuing graduate accounting studies. To make a gift to the fund, please visit

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