Welcome to the Loyola University Newsroom

Print this page

Loyola mourns the loss of College of Business professor Lee Yao

Loyola press release - November 16, 2012

The Loyola University New Orleans community is mourning the loss of Lee J. Yao, Ph.D., the Rev. J. A. Butt, S.J. Distinguished Professor in Accounting in the College of Business. Yao passed away Nov. 14 due to complications from cancer. He was 54. A memorial service honoring Yao's life will be held Friday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. at Fortbend Community Church, 7707 Texas 6, Missouri City, TX 77459.

Yao joined Loyola’s College of Business in 2007 after serving as associate professor at Monash University in Australia. His impact on College of Business students, faculty and staff was extensive.

“Lee brought an energy and passion for accounting that made his teaching style engaging for students. He was known by the academy for his insightful and rigorous research in international accounting issues,” said College of Business Dean William Locander, Ph.D. “We in the College of Business will miss him as a colleague who would take any assignment willingly and finish it with excellence.”

Loyola alumnus and past board of trustees member Barry LeBlanc, MBA ’82, met Yao several years ago when they both served on the College of Business advisory committee together. They became good friends and spent time together on the golf course. Yao, who took the Jesuit values to heart, often brainstormed with LeBlanc on how best to get his accounting students involved in the community.

“One time on the course he was struggling on how he could ingrain the ideas of community service on the radar of his accounting students, get them to realize there is more than number crunching and their studies. My wife and I had been working for several years with the Loyola University Habitat for Humanity home in the area and suggested that Lee ask his students to participate,” LeBlanc said.

“Lee was able to get some of his students to come down and help with the annual maintenance and landscaping. It was a real testament to how much he cared for not only Loyola, but the community.”

Yao, who was also a Marquette Faculty Fellow, was one of the pre-eminent researchers in fraud examination, forensic accounting, cost/managerial accounting, accounting information systems and audits. He was a CPA, an Australian and British Chartered Accountant, an Australian Certified Management Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a British Chartered IT Professional.

Prior to Monash, he served as associate dean of research for the School of Business and Technology at La Trobe University in Australia and as associate professor of accounting at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Before joining the academic world, he had more than 20 years of extensive senior management experience with multinational organizations, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Arthur Andersen in accounting and information systems in Australia, U.S., U.K., and Singapore.

Earlier this year, Yao received two rare academic grants from the Chinese government to study investment strategies, as well as investment education, in the emerging Chinese marketplace. Yao planned on traveling to China over the Christmas break to work and collect data with the Chinese investigators before returning to Loyola to analyze the information and produce his reports. He had also recently accepted an honorary professorship at his alma mater of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, as well as a visiting fellowship at the prestigious Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, U.K.

In addition to holding post-graduate degrees from the University of Cambridge and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Yao received his doctorate from Deakin University in Australia and both his MBA and bachelor’s from Minnesota State University.

Yao published widely on issues in accounting, finance and information systems, resulting in five books and book chapters on IT, finance and accounting and more than 40 articles in leading referred journals.