A Couple of Major Awards

Professors S. Mark Young and Sarah Bonner earn distinction of being the only couple to win the AAA Lifetime Contribution Award

January 24, 2020

When USC Marshall and Leventhal Professor S. Mark Young received the 2020 American Accounting Association Lifetime Contribution Award in Management Accounting, it was recognition of his decades of accomplishments in education, research and practice.

It also gave him bragging rights with Ernst and Young Professor of Accounting Sarah Bonner, who was honored with the AAA Lifetime Contribution Award in Behavioral Accounting in 2017. 

“We are the only couple ever to win these awards in two different areas of accounting research,” said Young, George Bozanic and Holman G. Hurt Chair in Sports and Entertainment Business; professor of accounting, management and organization; and professor of communication and journalism with the Annenberg School.

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association presented Young with the 2020 AAA Lifetime Contribution Award at the 2020 AAA Management Accounting Section Midyear Meeting in Houston in January 2020.

Young was recognized for his 40-plus years of research across the automobile, airline, tech and entertainment industries, in addition to his studies in management control system design.

“Professor Young’s lifelong research and teachings have provided management accountants with valuable insights to better guide their organizations on critical business issues,” said Kristy Towry, vice dean for faculty and research at Emory University and previous president of the Management Accounting Section of the AAA, in a statement. “This award also acknowledges his tremendous contributions to the management accounting profession worldwide.”

Young previously received the Notable Contributions to the Accounting Literature Award and the Notable Contributions to the Management Accounting Literature Award.

“I am very honored to have won this award,” Young said. “It’s hard to believe that I have been in the profession for so many years. I can still remember the first day I entered the doctoral program at the University of Pittsburgh, so time has flown by. When I received the award, my mentor, Professor Jacob Birnberg, attended the event, making it a truly wonderful day.”

He added: “I also want to say that my wife, Professor Sarah Bonner, has supported me unconditionally. She is an exceptional academic, and I am extremely proud of her. I am very happy that both of us have won these awards.”

“I am thrilled that Mark and I have won the lifetime achievement award in our respective areas — management accounting and judgment and decision-making research in accounting,” Bonner said. “Mark’s award is extremely well-deserved. He has made many contributions to his field ­ with innovative research, including field research inside companies, an excellent textbook and many students who have gone on to great careers.

“Most important to both of us,” Bonner added, “is that we have raised two wonderful children.”