Accounting student wins prestigious national award

Colin Webber has achieved excellence as an athlete as an All-MIAA distance runner for the Gorillas and as the Pitt State record holder in the indoor 800m. But he’s also achieved academically, and this summer was one of 50 students in the nation to earn a prestigious national award for his outstanding performance on the CPA exam — an exam taken by 67,000 people. 

The Elijah Watt Sells Award is granted to CPA candidates who earn a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the CPA exam, and who pass all four sections on their first attempt. 

It was established by the American Institute of CPAs in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Exam, and named for one of the first CPAs in the U.S. — one who played a key role in advancing education within the profession. 

“I certainly owe a great deal of gratitude for several excellent teachers and coaches at Pitt State that have prepared me for success,” said Webber, who transferred to Pitt State in Fall 2017 to major in Accounting and to join Pitt State’s winning Cross Country and Track & Field teams. 

Extended NCAA eligibility after the pandemic prompted Webber to return for another year after graduating to complete the new Master of Professional Accountancy program, or MPAcc. 

But he wasn’t finished.  

The MPAcc program inspired him to attend graduate school, so he decided to complete Pitt State’s MBA program. 

“The courses proved to be very helpful for the CPA exam,” Webber said. 

All of it proved helpful to employment: Webber quickly landed a job at Ernst & Young in Kansas City. 

Professor David O’Bryan described Webber’s accomplishment as “amazing,” as the CPA exam is rigorous. 

“He was a joy to have in class,” O’Bryan said.  

Webber also was an MIAA Academic Excellence Award recipient, an MIAA Scholar Athlete, and a member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. 

AICPA Vice President Mike Decker said Webber and the other 49 were to be “commended for an exceptional performance that very few individuals achieve.” 

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