The excitement and pride of being number one will never get old!

Montana State University Bozeman College of Business accounting students had the highest pass rate in the nation for graduate students taking the May 2002 Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam the first time! This news is according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The 2002 rankings are the most recent results posted by the association.

MSU accounting students ranked first in the category of "first-time candidates with advanced degrees passing the CPA exam" with a pass percentage rate of 85.2 percent. The percentage is also the highest ever achieved by MSU College of Business students, according to the college.

"This is the fifth time in 20 years that our students have been first," said Richard Semenik, dean of the College of Business. "We continue to rate above prestigious schools such as Wake Forest, University of Florida and DePaul. We are very proud of these students and the legacy they are carrying forward. Of course, we are also proud of our accounting colleagues who put so much work into the curriculum."

In addition, Nichole (Mosser) Walker of Billings, an 2002 MSU College of Business Master's of Professional Accountancy graduate, received the Montana Society of CPAs George D. Anderson Gold Medal Award for a Montana university or college student with the highest overall score on the May 2002 CPA exam. Walker works as an auditor for KPMG in Anchorage, Alaska.

This is the fourth time Montana State University-Bozeman has been ranked number one in the nation on the CPA exam since NASBA first published its rankings in 1985. MSU was also number one in the rankings in 1991, 1995, and 1996. MSU ranked number one in the nation in 1983 in a listing that preceded the NASBA rankings. MSU-Bozeman accounting students also have consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation for 16 of the last 20 years that the test has been administered, according to Bonita Peterson, accounting professor at MSU.

More detailed information reported by NASBA about the 32 MSU students taking the 2002 exam included: 100 percent of the students passed the auditing section of the exam, ranking MSU-Bozeman as number one in the country for the auditing pass rate; 96.3 percent passed the business law section and the tax/managerial/governmental accounting section, ranking MSU-Bozeman number two and number one in the country on those parts of the exam, respectively; 88.9 percent passed the financial accounting section, ranking MSU-Bozeman number three in the country for the financial accounting part pass rate.

"We are so fortunate to have such a terrific group of dedicated students each year," Peterson said. "I think I can speak for all the accounting faculty when I say that we are thrilled over the students' success at achieving this milestone in their career."

"I have received many e-mails from the students as they tell me their scores, and the level of excitement in their messages is impossible to describe," Peterson said. "Further, many of the students tell me how few of their colleagues at their new place of employment have passed this very difficult exam."