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April 5, 2012

School Remembers Gordon Shillinglaw

Gordon Shillinglaw, a Columbia Business School professor for nearly 30 years, died on March 31 at age 86 after a long battle with cancer.


Gordon Shillinglaw, a Columbia Business School professor for nearly 30 years, died on March 31 at age 86 after a long battle with cancer. During his time at the School, Shillinglaw taught thousands of students accounting, business law, and taxation. He also authored a textbook that would become a hallmark for introductory accounting courses.

Shillinglaw was recruited by the School in 1961 and ultimately became chairman of the accounting department and a highly regarded teacher in his profession. While on sabbatical from the School in the 1960s, he taught for three years at IMEDE, a business management institute in Lausanne, Switzerland. Back at Columbia Business School in the mid-1970s, Shillinglaw served as director of the Executive Degree Program, helping to revive the educational curriculum for busy executives seeking business degrees.

Before coming to the School, Shillinglaw worked for business consulting firm Joel Dean Associates prior to being recruited by MIT to teach in the relatively new academic field of accounting. While at MIT, he teamed with Myron J. Gordon to write Accounting: A Management Approach (Richard D. Irwin, 1969), which was revised through eight editions and several coauthors. He also wrote several other books on accounting and served on the boards of a number of mutual funds, including Scudder and AARP. In addition, Shillinglaw served on the federal Cost Accounting Standards Board, setting measures for how cost accounting should be applied in US companies, and was an active member of the American Accounting Association.

Shillinglaw was born in 1925 in Albany, NY. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in naval sciences, he was assigned as an ensign to the U.S.S. New Orleans and was involved in two of the last major naval battles of the war in Okinawa and the Philippines in 1945. After the war, Shillinglaw served with the US Navy in China before earning his MBA at the University of Rochester. He was then accepted as a doctoral candidate at Harvard in economics and completed his dissertation in 1950 while teaching at Hamilton College.

A memorial service will be held May 31 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St. Paul’s Chapel on the Columbia University campus; friends, colleagues, and students are welcome to attend. Shillinglaw is survived by his wife, the former Barbara Ann Cross; two children, James Shillinglaw and Laura Sakshaug, and their respective spouses, Saralyn Bass and Robert Sakshaug; and four grandchildren, Gregory Shillinglaw, Carolyn Shillinglaw, Elizabeth Rapp, and Marguerite Rapp.