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Fred H. Schaefer Named Accounting Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

April 30, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Smeal College of Business Dean Charles H. Whiteman announced that Fred H. Schaefer has been posthumously named the Department of Accounting’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. The award will be presented by Penn State President Eric J. Barron.  

“Fred has been described as the quintessential CPA. His integrity and commitment to excellence were remarkable, and he was widely respected as a mentor and a friend,” Whiteman said.

Schaefer, who passed away in 2018, earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1966 and an MBA in 1968, both from Penn State. He began his career at Arthur Andersen and was subsequently offered a job at Triarc Companies, Inc., a conglomerate with interests in propane, fast food and more. He was a former senior vice president and chief accounting officer at Triarc.

Triarc acquired Wendy’s International, Inc. in 2008, and Schaefer retired as senior vice president of Wendy’s in 2010.

“Mr. Schaefer spoke highly of his undergraduate and MBA degrees from Penn State, crediting our accounting program with putting him on the path to a prosperous career,” said Henock Louis, KPMG Professor of Accounting and chair of the Department of Accounting. “I am pleased that we are able to recognize his long and distinguished career and his commitment to the future success of Smeal’s accounting program.”

Schaefer’s commitment to Penn State includes a $4 million estate gift to create the Fred H. Schaefer Scholars Program in Accounting. The program, which will enroll its first cohort this summer, will provide scholarship support for participants and will encourage leadership and ethical standards, a commitment to community service and a study abroad or international internship experience.

Smeal Accounting External Advisory Board member Sandy Arkell, executive vice president, corporate controller and principal accounting officer at Mastercard, worked with Schaefer when she was hired as the assistant controller of Arby’s Group in 2006.

“We worked together during the migration of NYC accounting operations, which were under Fred, to Atlanta. He was incredibly gracious and generous with his time during this period of transition and completely dedicated to success in every way,” Arkell said. “I remember him as an incredibly good guy with a relentless work ethic.”

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