Positive, healthy, and honest relationships. That’s what Glen Thomas (BS, Business Administration, ’83) and Joyce Densmore-Thomas (BA, Liberal Studies, ’82) value most and aim to cultivate with their new endowed professorship—the first of its kind in the College of Business.

“Public accounting is what has provided me and my family with everything we have,” said Thomas, who is a founder and partner at the Bay Area accounting firm TYS, LLP. “Now that I’m in the second stage of my career, I can point back to Chico as a fundamental thing that enabled all of it.”

Thomas regularly recruits at Chico State, because he says accounting students walk away with far more than a theoretical understanding of business or only the mechanics of calculation.

“I believe in this place. I believe in the Chico Experience. I lived it. And now our son is living it too.”

—Glen Thomas, ’83, donor

“I can teach anybody accounting,” said Thomas, who hopes the endowed professorship will grow the number of faculty and, in turn, the number of accounting majors. “What I struggle with is giving [recruits] that real experience, that growing up, that maturity they get through Chico—it’s the well-roundedness and the balance we’re really looking for.”

That well-roundedness starts with faculty, said Densmore-Thomas, the vice principal at Cambridge Elementary School in Concord.

“It’s not just knowing your content, which is of course important,” she said. “It’s also about having the ability to inspire learning … having faculty who can develop a rich classroom environment in which students learn how to build relationships and collaborate.”

She says this ability is a key attribute she and her husband want the recipients of the Glen Thomas and Joyce Densmore-Thomas Family Endowed Fellowship to bring to the department.

“I was blessed to have a lot of great professors in accounting,” said Thomas, who—like his wife—is thrilled their son Niels found his way to Chico State and to the accounting department, specifically.

Thomas has stayed connected to the college for 32 years by guest lecturing, serving on its advisory board, and recruiting on campus. Now that Niels is going through the same program and learning from Thomas’ former professors—like Wallace Leese, known to students then as “Dr. Leese” and “Wally” to his son—Thomas feels an even richer, deeper connection to the college.

“It all ties back together,” he said. “I believe in this place. I believe in the Chico Experience. I lived it. And now our son is living it too.”

Densmore-Thomas says she and her husband are fortunate to have their roots in Chico and to have “earned [their] wings there.”

She hopes their family’s gift will “build that opportunity for others” for many years to come.

“And recruiting the best professors is key to that,” she said.