In Memoriam: Robert Shepherd

January 11, 2021

Robert Shepherd
Robert Shepherd in the Santa Cruz Sentinel

It’s with great sadness that we pass along the news that our emeritus colleague and friend Robert Shepherd passed away peacefully on Sunday.

Bob joined the Economics Department in 1983 following nearly two decades of governmental and corporate employment as a CPA. He had earned a B.S. at USC and M.A. in accounting at USC in 1965 and 1970 respectively and became a certified public accountant in 1967. He taught at UC Santa Cruz from 1983 to 2015, and was an instrumental figure in our department as the founder and leader of the accounting path, and teacher and mentor to thousands of business management economics students. He also lectured in accounting at San Jose State University and Cabrillo College. Over his tenure at UC Santa Cruz, Bob taught over 17,000 students in the classroom and mentored nearly 1,700 students through independent study courses. His teaching and dedication to students were beyond reproach; Bob was recognized time and time again for his dedication to students on campus:

  • UC Santa Cruz Excellence in Teaching Award (2001 and 2011)
  • Universal Design of Instruction Award (2011), issued by the UCSC Disability Resource Center
  • Golden Apple Distinguished Teaching Award from the Social Sciences Division (1991)
  • Favorite Professor Award (1991 and 1992) from the UCSC Alumni Association

In 2015, through the generosity of donors, the Robert J. Shepherd Economics Accounting Path Scholarship was founded in his honor to support academically high achieving students focusing on accounting. Bob was further recognized as the recipient of the 2015 outstanding educator award by the California Society of CPAs (CalCPA).

His dedication in attracting top firms to our campus provided opportunities for countless UCSC students. Bob really put our accounting program on the map, and set the bar for professional development at the campus more generally. Bob was also remarkably dedicated to keeping up with students after they graduated, continuing the mentorship that proved so successful while on campus.

Most importantly, Bob was a kind and decent person who loved talking to everybody in the department. He is remembered for always making time for a conversation about teaching, travels, and life more generally. Those who worked with Bob, feel fortunate to have known Bob as a colleague. He made everybody feel welcome, and his warm spirit will be truly missed.

When the time is appropriate, we will have a remembrance for Bob and his impact on campus. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and anybody who had the honor to learn from Bob.