In Memoriam: Professor Alvin H. Lieberman


Professor Alvin H. Lieberman passed away on April 15, 2020, after a long illness.

Lieberman earned a Juris Doctor in 1964 and an MBA in 1969, both at The University of Akron. He also was a certified public accountant. He began his full-time teaching career at UA in fall 1967 and retired as an associate professor on June 1, 2013. He continued on the faculty as the coordinator of accounting principles classes for three years after his retirement. Known as a beloved and highly respected professor, Lieberman taught taxation and accounting principles classes during most of his tenure and was regarded as one of the best instructors in the School of Accountancy.

He was the founder, along with Professor Denis Gordon, of the University’s Master of Taxation (MTax) program in 1979 and coordinated the program for more than three decades. Lieberman also created the National Tax Conference, an outreach activity of the MTax program in 1979 and managed that conference for more than four decades. In recognition of his contributions, the conference is now named The National Tax Conference in Honor of Al Lieberman. The conference committee recently committed to create a graduate student scholarship to honor his founding and management of the conference as well as the MTax program. In addition to the National Tax Conference, Lieberman was a co-founder of the renowned International Tax Conference about 18 years ago.

Lieberman taught thousands of accounting and tax students during his distinguished career and served as a mentor for many junior faculty members during his tenure. In 2007, he estimated that he had taught an average of about 400 students per academic year. Given that his career spanned more than 40 years, a conservative estimate implies that he contributed to the success of more than 16,000 students at The University of Akron. Students who took his classes were always assured that (1) they would have an outstanding learning experience, (2) they could visit with him at any time when he was not in the classroom, (3) they could call him on his home or cell phone if they needed help, (4) he would offer professional advice related to their prospective careers in accounting with empathy and care, and (5) he would proactively seek out help for them when he was not able to personally assist.

He was instrumental in the creation of the School of Accountancy’s pay-it-forward scholarship for the students who were unable to purchase the required textbooks in his accounting principles classes. Lieberman always insisted that students would perform better in his class if they would only read the assigned material prior to attending class. Accordingly, he would never permit a student with need to go without a textbook in his classes.

In total, Lieberman was affiliated with the University for more than five decades. He was proud of his relationship with The University of Akron and was always a loyal alumnus, professor and emeritus member of the University community.

Lieberman was renowned in the business community for his many contributions to accounting and taxation. Attorneys and accountants who are leaders in the field of taxation and in their respective firms made the following comments upon hearing that he had passed:

“Truly a great human being and sadly missed.” 

“His contributions to his students and the tax community in Northeast Ohio cannot be measured.” 

“The world lost a good one. The definition of a true gentleman and scholar.”

“He was … always an uplifting positive person.” 

“He was a huge influence on me and countless others over the years. He gave so selflessly of his time, and he truly cared.”

“He was the thread that drew us together and tied us all to The University of Akron. He was a friend and inspiration to countless students and practitioners.” 

Dr. Susan Hanlon, interim dean of the College of Business Administration, noted in her announcement to the faculty, “I will always remember Al as the ultimate master teacher and gentleman.” 

Alvin H. Lieberman will be missed by many former students, faculty, attorneys and numerous taxation and accounting professionals. His family has asked well wishers not to send any food or flowers to the home. Instead, donations may be made to the Akron/Canton Food Bank to help the many persons who are in need as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.