17 December 2002

Accounting pioneer Professor Ray Ball will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate at UQ’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL) graduation ceremony.

The ceremony will take place tomorrow at the new UQ Centre located at The University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus.

Professor Ball, who has been acknowledged by the American Accounting Association to have penned, with co-researcher Philip Brown, one of the most influential papers in accounting research of the past 30 years, will also be guest speaker at the 6pm ceremony.

Senior Vice-President - Australia and General Manager of Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast Grant Bowie will address students at the earlier 3pm ceremony.

Dr David Bellamy who will be awarded his PhD at the ceremony was one of six PhD students at the UQ Business School to sit an oral PhD examination. All six examinations were conducted over a two-week period.

This was also the first time three such exams had been carried out within 24 hours. Dr Bellamy’s PhD thesis was entitled An analysis of ex-dividend day abnormal trading volumes and share price changes in the Australian equity markets.

Melissa Mayhew, who will receive her Bachelor of Business Management with honours at the 3pm ceremony, will deliver the student valedictorian address while Joseph Clark, who will receive his Bachelor of Economics with honours, will deliver the student valedictorian address at the 6pm ceremony.

Ms Mayhew, who will graduate with first class honours, received the UQ Business School Thesis Prize, which was awarded to the student with the highest thesis mark.
Her thesis investigated the emerging work attitude of psychological ownership, which considered employees feelings of ownership towards their employing organisation and specific job.

“I developed a theory of psychological ownership in organisations encompassing work behaviours, related work attitudes and job factors,” Ms Mayhew said.

Mr Clark, who will also graduate with first class honours, has worked as a tutor at the University’s School of Economics. His thesis was based primarily on Evolutionary Game Theory and included a model of strategic interaction whereby individuals evolve rationally in a strategic environment.

“Over the summer I will be involved in research projects on Evolutionary Game Theory and Evolutionary Economics. The main focus of these research projects is to explore how economic systems evolve over time,” Mr Clark said.

Both Mr Clark and Ms Mayhew will continue with their research next year when they begin their PhD studies.

For more information, see below or contact Chris Saxby at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 3367, email: communications@uq.edu.au).

Looking after the money

• Pioneer of positive accounting theory and former Professor of Accounting and Business Finance at UQ Professor Ray Ball will be awarded an honorary doctorate. Australian-born, Ball is currently the Sidney Davidson Professor of Accounting in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago, editor of the Journal of Accounting Research and a consultant to industry and government. When he was appointed professor at UQ, he was just 26 years old and the youngest professor ever appointed in any discipline at UQ. Commonwealth Bank Professor of Banking and Finance and Director of Studies for the BEL faculty Frank Finn, who was also Ball’s first PhD graduate, said Ball had a substantial influence on his life, encouraging him to get serious as an academic in the first place. “When he supervised my PhD we were the same age,” said Professor Finn. Professor Ball changed the intensity and the emphasis of research in the department at UQ as soon as he arrived in 1971, Professor Finn said. “He introduced me to positive economics in both accounting and finance and I’ve been in that mould ever since,” he said. The official history of the department records that Ball’s dashing style – which included wearing red jeans, a floral cowboy shirt and multi-coloured shoes to Professorial Board meetings – raised eyebrows among his peers but was welcomed by the honours students and younger staff of the early 70s. It was the substance of his theories that was to leave a lasting impression, as he changed the emphasis of research to explore positive accounting theory. He also introduced research workshops into the program, injecting a new dynamism into the department. It was the first accounting department in Australia to have a structured program of workshops, in which high profile academics from around the country were invited to present papers – and then received a grilling from Ball’s keen honours students. Professor Ball boosted the proportion of honours graduates choosing to pursue academic careers to about 40 percent, a far higher proportion than in later years. Professor Ball will receive the degree of Doctor of Economics honoris causa in recognition of his distinguished academic career and outstanding contribution to the accounting profession.

Making the money

• Mr Grant Bowie, who is an Adjunct Professor in Hospitality Management at UQ, began his career in chartered accounting in his home country of New Zealand before taking up a position with Arthur Andersen in Brisbane in 1983. Showing an interest in hospitality and the gaming industry, he was transferred to the firm’s Los Angeles office, becoming involved with a number of gaming operators in Las Vegas and Reno including Harrah’s, Circus Circus, Peppermill Inns &Casinos and Hilton Hotels Corporation. On returning to Australia Mr Bowie worked on the opening of Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast and Sheraton Breakwater in Townsville. He was also involved with special assignments such as the first Sydney Casino bid, the introduction of machine-gaming to Victoria and preliminary investigations for the Christmas Island Casino/Resort. Mr Bowie joined Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast as casino controller in 1987 and was promoted to financial controller and then to the position of director of finance in 1988. A decade later, he reached his current position of Senior Vice-President - Australia and General Manager. He also holds executive positions on many national and Queensland hospitality and tourism bodies including, Chairman of the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau, he is a Director on the Gold Coast Events Company (Indy) Board and is Deputy Chairman of Queensland’s Responsible Gambling Advisory Committee. Mr Bowie is also past National president of the Australian Hotels Association Accommodation Division, past Queensland State president of the Tourism Council of Australia and past President of the Australian Casino Association.

Talking up their grades

• Dr David Bellamy said the advantage of the oral exam was that it was able to provide examiners with the opportunity to discuss with the student matters that they were unclear about. “The oral gives the student and examiners the chance to discuss the work and the student to understand where the examiners are coming from if there does happen to be problems,” Dr Bellamy said. “The student is able to explain why he or she did the work in a particular way and be able to defend that approach. “For example, in my case one examiner was unsure why I had used a certain metric. “I was able to explain why and perhaps more importantly in the long-term I defended my use of the metric versus some other system that the examiner thought initially may have been better.” Research Higher Degree Liaison Officer Carol O’Brien coordinated the examinations. Each exam involved the coordination of the candidate, the candidate’s supervision team, the Oral Exam Convenor from another school, the Internal Chair of examiners and two external examiners, some of whom were located interstate or oversees. The interstate examiners were flown in to participate in person while the overseas examiners participated by conference phone. As part of the exam, students were required to give a 60 minute public presentation followed by an 80 minute private meeting with the examination committee.