College kicks off Philanthropy Celebration Week

Accountancy grad earns national award

April 7, 2014

Dr. Lydia Rosencrants, Professor of Business and Accountancy, always knew Trae Long '12 of LaGrange was special.

"He was an outstanding student who graduated with a 4.0 with double majors of math and accountancy, arguably two of the hardest majors at the college," she said. "And he still graduated in four years."

Dr. Rosencrants said Trae was a very bright and hard-working student who was always prepared and professional in his classes.

"He understood things quickly and was able to take them to the next level on his own."

So when she learned that Trae received  the Elijah Watt Sells Award from the American Institute of CPAs, she was pleased but not surprised.

The award recognizes the top scorers on the national Uniform CPA Examination last year. Of the 94,154 people who took the test, only 55 CPA candidates were honored. LaGrange College is the only Georgia institution to have a winner.

"This award is very special," Dr. Rosencrants said. "The CPA exam has a reputation of being extremely difficult and the pass rate is not high. Not only did Trae pass all four parts the first time he took them, he passed them with above a 95.5 average. It really is a remarkable achievement."

The young accountant credits his college professors for preparing him for his career.

"Dr. Rosencrants created a simulated company, and we worked with it as a real accounting firm would," he said. "The level of detail she created gave me the opportunity to see accounting principles applied in a way that was very similar to the work we'd see in a real accounting firm."

He said that level of education also helped as he studied for the CPA exam and began his career.

"I was able to refer back to all those hands-on examples we had in our courses," he said. "And the skills I learned in Professor (Cindi) Bearden's business communication class have been invaluable when working with clients."

Trae began working at Gay & Joseph CPA in LaGrange in October 2012 and began preparing for the CPA exam. The test is given in four sections that can be taken separately. He took them over an eight-month period from January to August 2013.

"After completing a year of work experience that is necessary to be licensed in the state of Georgia, I received my CPA license this January," he said.

Accountancy grad earns national awardThe offices of Gay & Joseph are familiar to Trae – his father Wesley Long '80 is a partner in the firm.

"When Trae was growing up, I didn't really think he would want to be a CPA," his dad said. "But things have a funny way of working out. You might think there would be some friction with us working so closely together, but it has been great."

Chris Joseph, another partner, agrees.

"I am extremely proud of Trae," he said. "It has been a pleasure to follow his growth for the past 24 years and to enjoy his successes through LaGrange Academy and LaGrange College.  We are excited to have him working with us."

Trae's mother, Cammie Solomon Long '80, also is thrilled with her son's accomplishments.

"He worked full time at Gay & Joseph while he was preparing for the exam," she said. "Trae has never been satisfied with doing things halfway, and has always given 100 percent to achieve his goals."

Although she said she is "beaming with pride" over her son's award, there is something she cherishes more.

"I am equally as proud of his character and of his moral values," she said. "He will not compromise his principles or ethics for anything or anyone, and for that I am so thankful."

Wesley Long agreed.

"Gay & Joseph is lucky to have his as an employee," he said, "but his mother and I are even luckier to have him as a son."

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