When Troy Varenchik ’97 recalls his undergraduate days in the LMU College of Business Administration (CBA), he remembers how everything felt new and full of possibility. Not only was he among the first students to step inside the newly built Hilton Center for Business; it was also the first time he had been in an environment surrounded by individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.
“For the first time in my life, I was pushed out of my comfort zone and exposed to multiple different ways of looking at the world,” said Varenchik, a managing partner at Deloitte Tax LLP. “Working with students who each brought their own skills and perspectives to a project, it was clear that the final deliverable was far better than anything I could have achieved on my own. That firsthand understanding has proved incredibly rewarding throughout my career.”
Varenchik is one of many LMU alumni who have gone on to pursue a career at Deloitte, and the company maintains a long and productive relationship with LMU. Now, through a close collaboration between Varenchik and CBA, Deloitte Tax LLP and the university have come together to launch the Deloitte Tax Diversity Scholarship, covering the full cost of tuition for eight underrepresented students enrolling in the new Master of Science in Taxation, set to launch in fall 2022.
“The data for hiring and promotion practices demonstrate marked lack of diversity in the accounting profession,” explained Lawrence Kalbers, Ph.D., associate dean of faculty and academic programs at CBA and a leading specialist in accounting ethics. “This is particularly striking in the case of Black/African American and Latina/o communities. By integrating our new master’s degree program with the Deloitte Tax Diversity Scholarship, we’re determined to increase access to this growing area of the economy, significantly enhancing career opportunities and strengthening the pipeline of diverse talent.”
The new program will equip students with the skills they need to succeed in a competitive field, amplified by the unique emphasis on social justice that distinguishes the mission of the college. “When they enter the workplace, CBA students are immediately perceived as prepared, authentic, ethical, and hard working,” said Kalbers. “There is high demand for talented individuals who can also look beyond the numbers to understand the bigger picture; students who come from diverse backgrounds bring a greater awareness to the accounting profession, and that has far-reaching implications for society at large.”
For Varenchik, CBA’s emphasis on ethics has shaped his own approach to leadership. “Before I set foot on campus, I hadn’t been fully aware of my personal responsibility and how we can each make a difference. So, it’s felt very nostalgic to be back at LMU in a different role, working closely with Professor Kalbers to ensure that the new tax program will be accessible to students who might not have otherwise pursued a career in accounting. These are the individuals our profession deeply needs and values – they’re the ones who will open the pathways to change.”
LMU’s location in the global city of Los Angeles makes it ideally positioned to serve communities that will benefit most from the new scholarship. As Varenchik discovered as an undergraduate, diverse campus life is essential for a productive learning environment; as a microcosm of the world beyond, LMU continues to challenge, expand, and open students’ minds to the new.