It is with sadness that Southern Utah University shares the news that former professor Gary N. Giles passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, at the age of 82. Giles dedicated a substantial portion of his life to SUU, serving the University for 34 years.
“Over the years, I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of SUU alumni and inquiring about the welfare of favorite professors seems to be a central theme of those conversations,” Robert Eves, interim provost at SUU, said in a press release from the university. “I can honestly say that Professor Giles was one of those most often remembered by alumni. His influence on the students he touched is truly remarkable. A keen wit, a quick smile and a kind word are how I remember Gary Giles. Clearly, his students remember him in much the same way.”
Giles is remembered for his humor, compassion and an extraordinary dedication to students. His influence reached beyond the classroom with his focus always on the person, before the class and the grades.
“Gary was a dear friend and highly respected emeritus professor of accounting,” Mary Pearson, dean of the School of Business, said. “He was renowned for his uncanny ability to remember every student’s name, origin and family history. He truly exemplified a student-focused education and will be forever remembered for his positive impact on the accounting program and the thousands of students who crossed his path.”
During his time at SUU, Giles was instrumental in the design and implementation of the University’s first Bachelor of Accounting program in 1965 and then later the development of the Master of Accountancy program. Both programs are nationally ranked and among the most popular for SUU students.
“He was instrumental in helping me decide my career path and is still a large influence in my life today,” Scott Johnson, SUU graduate and former SUU alumni president, said. “As a professor, he was extremely supportive. Gary was always willing to talk things through and not just to learn the material, but to learn the application of that material. In particular, he focused on the importance of strong ethics in accounting and how that applied to the job. Thirty years after graduating, I still use techniques that he taught me.”
Giles was honored countless times throughout his career including earning SUU’s first-ever Professor of the Year Award, Outstanding Educator Award and a place in the Hall of Honor in SUU’s Great Hall.
Giles attended both SUU (then the College of Southern Utah) and Brigham Young University during his undergraduate education. And after graduating from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Giles was one of the first to complete BYU’s Master of Accountancy program.
Giles and his wife, Vera Jean Giles, met during his time at the College of Southern Utah. Together they have seven children, many of whom have attended SUU. He made a deep and lasting impact on the institution and will be greatly missed.
“He was always a listener and that’s why people came to him,” Dana Giles Magleby, Giles’s daughter, said. “People that knew he always had the time for them. He didn’t just teach numbers, he taught life.”
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Feb. 8 at noon at the Cross Hollow Stake Center. The viewing Friday, Feb. 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 8 from 10-11:30 a.m.