College of Business

A Head for Numbers, a Heart for Wine

Professor Brad Roof Shares His Expertise in Accounting and Fine Wines

by Karen Doss Bowman

image: /_images/cob/news-articles/highlight-faculty-1000x600.jpg

SUMMARY: Teaching two unrelated academic disciplines is challenging. But for accounting and wine studies professor Brad Roof, the pleasure comes from working with students who are motivated and eager to learn.

Brad Roof

Teaching two unrelated academic disciplines is challenging. But for accounting and wine studies professor Brad Roof, the pleasure comes from working with students who are motivated and eager to learn.

“It’s really meaningful to work with students,” says Roof, the Hantzmon Wiebel, LLC Faculty Scholar and a wine studies professor in the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management. “For me, there’s nothing greater than having alumni come home, and seeing that they’re successful and they love their lives. When that happens, it’s the happiest of days.”

Before joining JMU’s faculty in 1977, Roof worked for Touche Ross--at the time one of the world’s Big Eight public accounting firms. When he began leading training sessions and professional development programs for the firm, Roof discovered a love for teaching that led to his career change. At JMU, Roof also has served as associate dean for the College of Business, director of the International Business Program, director of the School of Accounting and director of the Center for Professional Development.

Named in the past to Virginia Business Magazine’s Super CPAs list, Roof helped design, and now coordinates, the College of Business CPA Bootcamp to help new graduates prepare for the CPA exam. The rigorous, six-week program is extremely successful: The JMU Masters of Accounting class of 2015 graduates had the highest pass rate for the CPA exam out of 78 programs, including Wake Forest University, Baylor University, the University of Notre Dame and Brigham Young University. The 27 graduates who took the exam achieved a 95.2% pass rate with an average score of 85.8. JMU graduates also achieved the highest pass rate for the exam in 2010.

For the Hart School, Roof teaches a challenging course in professional wine studies that is designed to prepare students to earn the certified specialist of wine (CSW) credential from the Society of Wine Educators. Providing an overview of  wines from all over the world, the course covers everything from how the grapes are grown to cooking with wine and selecting the right wine for a meal. Overall, his students have had a pass rate around 70 percent for the exam--significantly higher than the 40 percent national pass rate.

Roof’s expertise in wine began decades ago, when he started collecting bottles of wine shortly after graduating from college. These days, his wine cellar contains about 800 bottles, many dating back to the 1980s and 1990s. One of only 300 certified wine professionals in the world--a credential achieved by passing a challenging exam by the Culinary Institute of America--Roof also earned the “French wine scholar with high honors” distinction from the Republic of France. He also is a certified specialist of wine, a certified wine maker and a beer cicerone, initial certification.

Roof, whose past adventures include baking wedding cakes and running a landscape design business, enjoys watching his students overcome challenges to make their dreams come true.

“I feel we’re in a period where students look at education too much as something you do.  But really, the greatest benefit comes when you look at education as something you become,” Roof says. “So I enjoy seeing students becoming something a little different, a little better person in some way, as they go through challenging classes. To go up against something that frightens you and then prevail--that’s transformational.  And it’s so rewarding for me to witness as a teacher.”


Published: Friday, May 13, 2016

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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