John Simmons

Inaugural Fisher School director dies at 81

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – It is with great sadness we announce the death of John K. Simmons, the inaugural Director of the Fisher School of Accounting at the Warrington College of Business, University of Florida. Dr. Simmons died on July 19, 2019, in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he lived after retiring from the University of Florida. Dr. Simmons was 81 and is survived by his wife of 59 years, Gail Simmons, two daughters, Kauleen Simmons and Laura Simmons Pouloutides, son-in-law John Pouloutides, granddaughters, Alexandra and Elizabeth, and a brother, Richard Simmons.

Dr. Simmons was born in Beloit, Kansas and earned his Ph.D. in Accounting from The Ohio State University in 1967. He had a long and distinguished academic career, serving as the President of the American Accounting Association among many other national leadership roles. He retired from UF as the KPMG Distinguished Service Professor. Dr. Simmons was also an accomplished sailor.

Dr. Simmons joined the University of Florida (from the University of Minnesota) as Chair of the Department of Accounting in 1974. One of his first decisions was to organize an external Steering Committee to assist in obtaining enrichment funding for the accounting program. Shortly thereafter he charged this committee with the task of exploring the possibility of reorganizing the department as a School of Accounting. With the support of the accounting faculty and the Steering Committee, Dr. Simmons approached the dean about establishing a School of Accounting. He was successful and in 1977, the College of Business faculty, the UF Senate, and the Board of Regents approved the establishment of the School of Accounting as an experimental model for a six year period. John became the inaugural Director of the School. In 1983 the UF Faculty Senate voted to make the School of Accounting permanent. It was renamed the Fisher School of Accounting in 1985 as a result of a generous contribution by alumnus Fred Fisher.