Remembering Dr. Kerby


Debra Kerby

Our colleague and friend, Debra “Deb” Kerby, Dean of the School of Business, passed away on January 14, 2020, at the age of 64.

Since joining the Truman accounting faculty in 1982, Dr. Kerby devoted herself to working with students and improving the University. She took great pride in the success of all the business and accountancy students who passed through Violette Hall. She was also an avid supporter of the athletic programs at the University, often cheering in the stands in Pershing Arena for Bulldog volleyball and basketball teams.

A NATIVE OF NORTHEAST MISSOURI, Dr. Kerby earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in business education from Truman. She was a member of the first class of Pershing Scholars and went on to earn a Master of Accounting Science degree from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She held CPA and CMA certifications.

THROUGHOUT HER CAREER AT TRUMAN Dr. Kerby had a profound impact on students and the University. She taught undergraduate and graduate students managerial and financial accounting. She directed the Master of Accountancy program, served as convener of the accounting faculty, served as Interim Head of the Division of Business and Accountancy, coordinated the University’s Higher Learning Commission activities, and chaired several University committees and task forces. After Dr. Kerby became Dean of the School of Business in 2011, she said she enjoyed being Dean but missed the faculty-student interaction with students. To maintain a connection with students, she continued to work with students as an academic advisor while serving as Dean.

DR. KERBY WAS THE RECIPIENT OF SEVERAL AWARDS for teaching and advising including the Walker and Doris Allen Fellowship for Faculty Excellence, William O’Donnell Lee Advising Award, Order of Omega Golden Apple Award, and the Missouri Society of CPAs Outstanding Educator Award.

DR. KERBY SERVED as a board member of the Missouri Society of CPAs Educational Foundation, Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center, Bethel Cemetery Trustees, and New Hope Evangelical Church. Her memberships in professional and honorary organizations included the American Accounting Association, American Institute of CPAs, Institute of Management Accountants, Missouri Society of CPAs, Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gamma Sigma, Delta Sigma Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi.

A MEMBER OF THE Truman State University Foundation Board for six years, Dr. Kerby led efforts for securing funding for the School of Business and Truman. She enjoyed meeting with alumni through the years to share the story of the School of Business and University.

DR. KERBY WAS NOT ONLY GENEROUS with her time and talents, but also made significant financial gifts to Truman during her life and through her estate. Dr. Kerby established the Kerby Family Business Excellence Fund to continue enhancing technology and learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff within the School of Business. The fund provides scholarships and supports faculty by providing resources to attend academic conferences and additional opportunities for research. The fund is designed to maintain and advance the exemplary reputation of the School of Business and Truman State University.

BEFORE HER PASSING, Dr. Kerby was humbled by plans to promote the fund in honor of her retirement and moved by the gifts made to the fund. She impacted many lives through her lifelong commitment to the University and its students. Through the endowed fund she created, her impact will continue in perpetuity.

Support the Kerby Family Business Excellence Fund

You can make a gift to the Kerby Family Business Excellence Fund. Gifts designated to this fund will honor Dr. Kerby and help Truman and the School of Business continue to make a strong impact in the lives of Truman students and faculty.

Make a gift