Originally published in the inaugural edition of Carroll Capital, the print publication of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Read the full issue here.
Professor G. Peter “Pete” Wilson has been posthumously inducted into the American Accounting Association Hall of Fame. Before his death in 2020 at the age of 74, Wilson was one of Boston College’s most revered professors, whose expertise and wisdom made him a constant model for students and colleagues alike. In addition to his roles as professor and the Joseph L. Sweeney Chair in Accounting at the Carroll School, Wilson was also a standout scholar, publishing innovative research in journals such as The Accounting Review and Review of Financial Studies.
Year after year, he received glowing feedback from students. Much of his philosophy of teaching, and what contributed to his acclaim as a master teacher, was what he called “the journey from me to we.” Wilson credited the success of a class not to himself as an educator, but rather to the entirety of the classroom. He also placed a distinct value on teamwork and collaboration. He spent minimal time lecturing, opening up time for critical thinking and real-world problem solving within groups.
In addition to the thousands of students who left his class with a complex understanding of accounting, Wilson’s renown is reflected in the many awards he earned from the American Accounting Association, including the J. Michael and Mary Anne Cook/Deloitte Foundation Prize for teaching excellence. Wilson would often end the semester with an opportunity for students—and himself—to reflect on personal and intellectual growth. When asked in 2016 about his reputation as a great teacher, Wilson remarked, “I’m a very good teacher, but I have great classes. You wake up one morning and say, ‘I can’t do this without them.’”