Alumnus Richard Orin receives Honorary Doctorate

Image: Alumnus Richard Orin speaking after receiving his honorary doctorate.

On Saturday, May 12, 2018, the University of Missouri conferred the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to Richard Orin.

For Richard, education is a lifelong pursuit. Born and raised in New York, he began his collegiate academic career at Cornell University in 1943, but World War II prompted him to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

Soon after he returned to the U.S., Richard found his way to Mizzou. Determined to be independent, Richard worked three jobs rather than accept money from his parents. He caught the attention of DR Scott, a pillar of the then MU School of Business and Public Administration. Scott, a World War I veteran with a doctorate from Harvard University and great confidence in his opinions, was a perfect mentor for Richard. The two discussed academics, current events and everything else under the sun. Those meetings were very precious to Richard. He still remembers them clearly.

Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration (with a major in accountancy) from Mizzou in 1949, and the experience left an indelible mark on him. Among his accomplishments at MU, he was elected into Beta Gamma Sigma business honor fraternity and Alpha Pi Zeta. Richard also was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

After graduation, Richard returned home to New York and worked as a junior account executive while attending New York University’s law school at night. However, when the Korean War started, Richard’s plans were interrupted once more. He was drafted in the U.S. Army, eventually serving as an engineer in a rebuilt division in Germany. He was given a letter of commendation for his service in addition to receiving the Meritorious Service Award.

Richard returned in 1953 and completed his education at NYU, earning a juris doctor degree in 1955 and a master’s degree in taxation law in 1957. He has spent the past 60 years practicing tax law as an attorney and a certified public accountant.

Richard is a founding member and former president of the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants. Based on his leadership of the organization, he received the first Louis S. Goldberg Memorial Award. He is the author of “Professional Ethics,” published by the Foundation of Accounting Education. He also belongs to the Trulaske College of Business’ Herbert J. Davenport Society.

Over the years, Richard has had many celebrity clients, including filmmaker and comedian Mel Brooks and travel guide author Arthur Frommer, who once gave him a personal tour of Amsterdam. He served the Broadway musical production The Fantasticks for 41 years.

For Richard, the true essence of public accounting is professional responsibility and ethics. It’s a value that Scott instilled in him, and one that Richard has long sought to instill in others. He is the sponsor of the Richard M. Orin Ethics Symposium at the School of Accountancy in the Trulaske College of Business. The lecture series, established in 1997, focuses on the intersection of ethics and accounting and attracts more than 400 attendees annually. In recognition of his contributions, he received the Lifetime Contribution to Ethics Education Award from the School of Accountancy and the Alumni Citation of Merit Award from the Trulaske College of Business.

Throughout his personal and professional advancement, Richard has kept Mizzou close to his heart and has become one of our most influential alumni, earning the affectionate moniker of “our oldest and most active living alumnus.”