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Darla Moore School of Business


Paying it forward: Alumnus gives back to the Moore School, and the community

April 8, 2016

William Ellerbe “Trey” Ackerman III (’97, MTax ’98) believes the greatest gift in life is the gift of giving back and helping others. It’s something he has experienced first-hand.

As a teenager in small-town Andrews, S.C., his resources were limited. Although a spectacular student and scholarship recipient, Ackerman was still left with a large portion of college tuition to be paid for his graduate degree.

Then the Parsons family, a prosperous and prominent family in Andrews, came along. The Parsons Family provided Ackerman with jobs throughout high school and supported him financially in various ways at the University of South Carolina. With scholarships, including the Arthur Henry Parsons Scholarship, and support from the family, Ackerman was able to fully fund the cost of his education at the universit.

Now he’s trying to return that favor and help other students like himself at the university.

“Others have helped me along the way, and now it is my turn to pay it forward,” says Ackerman. “I just want to help others and make an impact. It is what drives me. Whether it’s my clients or our team members, I am constantly thinking of how I can make a positive impact on their lives.”

With that goal in mind, Ackerman and his wife made the school the beneficiary of a $250,000 life insurance policy to establish the Trey and Shannan Ackerman Endowed Scholarship Fund. To make an immediate impact, the Ackerman’s have also committed to financing an annual scholarship of $2,500.

“To me, being a leader means we should be life-long learners,” says Ackerman. “We’re all on a journey not an ultimate destination. If I can assist students on this journey, then I am on the right path.”

That engagement with his alma mater is one reason why Ackerman has been recognized as one of this year’s Distinguished Young Alumni recipients. This award is presented to alumni, less than 40 years of age, with outstanding achievements in business, academia, government, or not-for-profit organizations, and/or outstanding service to the business school.

Albeit a busy husband, father and partner with Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, Ackerman still makes time to give back to the community. He is active on several boards of directors including the Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Regional Partnership, United Way Campaign Cabinet and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.


“Through my work, I hope that the community can see that we can all make a difference in our own way,” says Ackerman. “I want to challenge others to step up and assist others. To me, I get such a sense of fulfillment when I am able to help someone accomplish his or her goals.”

By Jessika Markland