Longtime Fisher School supporter Michael Abney passes away at 78

The Fisher School of Accounting lost one of its most loyal supporters with the passing of Michael Abney on June 9.

He was 78 years old.

“Mike served the Fisher School and the University of Florida in numerous ways, and his commitment to quality accounting education was unwavering,” said Dr. Gary McGill, J. Roy Duggan Professor, Associate Dean and Director of the Fisher School. “He was involved in the creation of the School of Accounting, and was a true friend. His advice and counsel will be sorely missed.”

A Jacksonville native, Abney earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Florida in 1957. Abney earned his CPA license a year later and embarked on an incredibly successful career. He spent 30 years as a partner in the international accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand LLP (now PwC), the last 17 years as the managing partner of the firm’s Jacksonville office. Under Abney’s guidance, Coopers & Lybrand ascended to one of the Southeast’s largest CPA offices.

Michael Abney (BSAc '57) was a loyal supporter of Warrington and the Fisher School.

Michael Abney (BSAc ’57) was a loyal supporter of Warrington and the Fisher School.

After a successful career in public accounting, Abney became the Chief Financial Officer of MPS Group, Inc., a Jacksonville-based enterprise that provides staffing, consulting and business solutions to various industries in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia in 1992. He became the company’s Senior Vice President in 1998 and a member of its Board of Directors in 2000 upon his retirement.

Abney was a member of the advisory boards of the Fisher School of Accounting and the Warrington College of Business Administration where he was also an original Steering Committee member. He served on the Board of Directors of many civic and education organizations, including Episcopal High School (named Honorary Trustee in 2013), Episcopal High School Foundation Board, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Baptist Hospital Foundation, Jacksonville Zoological Society, Jacksonville Symphony, Inroads Jacksonville, Young Life, St. Mark s and St. Peters Episcopal churches, and many more.

Abney was also a member of Kappa Alpha Order, Beta Alpha Psi, University of Florida Alumni Association (lifetime member), American Institute of Public Accountants (lifetime member), Florida Institute of Public Accountants (lifetime member), the Meninak Club of Jacksonville, and Bull Gators (UF). He enjoyed memberships at Timuquana Country Club, The Florida Yacht Club, The River Club, The Ponte Vedra Club, The Plantation at Ponte Vedra Beach, and The Cullasaja Club (Highlands, NC).

Abney is survived by his wife, Joy; children, Michael, Jr., Ted, and David; and his five grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, Abney requested donations be made to Christ Church InTown (PCA), Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church, The Episcopal School of Jacksonville and the Fisher School of Accounting.