Coming of Age

Bob Maurer straps in before a racing competition, a favorite hobby.

Bob Maurer straps in before a racing competition, a favorite hobby of his.

Robert Maurer and accounting grew up together at Central College. During his 45 years at Central, Maurer has seen his specialty change from a few classes without a major to an established academic discipline with a conceptual framework. Having become an associate professor of a mature and popular field, Maurer retired this spring at the end of the semester.

“I think I’ve seen accounting come of age as something that has credibility in the educational environment, because we have a theory,” he says with pride. “We no longer do the number-crunching by hand, which gives the accountant time to think about what the numbers mean, what they should mean and how we should measure things.”

That kind of thinking didn’t exist when Maurer first earned his M.B.A. at Indiana University. Accounting was just a mechanical process. But when he came to Central in 1968, Maurer was immediately asked to expand his skills and perspective. Dean Jim Graham sent him to the University of Iowa to learn how to use its computer system, which Central was hooked up to. When the college acquired a stand-alone computer several years later, Maurer wrote programs for students to use in class, including a bank simulation in which he played the part of the Federal Reserve. He also wrote a manual on SuperCalc, a precursor to Microsoft Excel.

As the technology changed, so did Maurer’s relationships with students—his favorite aspect of teaching. “In earlier years, I was kind of a friend, then I became a dad. Now I’m a grandpa,” he says. “I’ve grown up and the students haven’t—they are still 20-year-olds.

That keeps you moving; you are working with young folks all the time, and you’ve got to remain young.”

Despite his grandfatherly appeal, Maurer describes his teaching style as authoritative. Accounting requires lectures, and there’s no room for discussion about which answer is better. “I think that’s both a blessing and a curse,” he explains. “I tell students the numbers are easy and the words are hard. We deal with the precision of numbers as opposed to the ambiguity of words.”

Bob MaurerStill, Maurer always had words to spare for his accounting majors and other students on campus. He was the advisor to the Phi Delts for many years and fondly remembers Homecoming floats and spaghetti suppers. He also valued relationships with colleagues—especially Don Butler, who hired him and took him to the Drake Relays when he came to interview.

Forty-five years later, Maurer is retiring and looking forward to “playing with his toys”—Formula One and street racing cars. In his garage, he keeps 11 cars and four motorcycles. From the time he began racing in 1970, Maurer has accumulated several national championships and raced with legends like Paul Newman and Mario Andretti.

But Maurer won’t forget his other passion—the numbers and theory of accounting that led him to Central in the first place. He plans to rejoin the board of the local chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants and volunteer with the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) in Iowa. Involved with the ever-changing field of accounting, Maurer will keep growing up.

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  • Ed Ver Hoef '54


    4:04 pm on July 6, 2013

    Bob, anybody who is interested in car competition (racing, et al) can’t be all bad. I am a CUI grad (class of ’54, math & physics majors) and have always loved cars, especially sport cars. It started with a Corvette and grew to a Porsche which I bought at the factory, drove all over Europe, and finally (sadly) sold after 16 years. I had gone through SCCA drivers school but only ran in two races; autocrossing was my weekly passion.

  • John McThompson


    3:02 pm on July 6, 2013

    Bob, Enjoy the retirement you have earned it. Race hard, Win a lot, apply the same passion for accounting to racing. You taught us all a lot more than accounting, the life lessons and the friendships will not be forgotten.

  • Harold Kolenbrander


    7:57 pm on June 28, 2013

    Hi Bob,
    Congratulations on 45 wonderful years of helping students learn not only accounting but also how to live. I have fond memories of our conversations in your office and of you teaching me how to go about rebuilding a VW engine. Many good memories. May your years in retirement be rich with new experiences and fond memories of old ones. Harold

  • Randy Sikkema


    4:25 pm on June 25, 2013

    Congratulations on your retirement Bob! Central will not be the same without you teaching accounting. 45 years is a great accomplishment. It doesn’t seem possible that it was 30+ years ago you were teaching me about my lifelong profession. I deeply appreciate all you have taught me, and even more so appreciate your friendship over the years since I graduated in 1982. Enjoy your next phase in life, and hopefully we will still cross paths and exchange conversations for many more years.

  • Todd Halverson


    12:48 pm on June 25, 2013

    Congratulations on your retirement! Central will suffer a great loss with your retirement! You and Carol were the Accounting Department at Central. You were one of my most favorite professor’s at Central. This coming from an Accounting major! Hope you have fun playing with your toys. I would like to see you race sometime if I knew your schedule as I am a big race fan from the Dirt Track here at the Southern Iowa Speedway, to the Sprint Car Racing at the Knoxville Raceway, to the Drag racing at Eddyville Raceway, to the former Ruan Grand Prix in Des Moines, to NASCAR I enjoy watching them all and would enjoy watching you as well. I always appreciated when in public you recognized me and spoke to to me. I am not sure with all the Accounting students you have had how you remember me from the class of ’86. God Speed my friend you will be missed at Central!

  • Amber Voss


    8:22 am on June 25, 2013

    Congratulations on your retirement! You made me feel comfortable and welcome at Central and I can’t thank you enough. There was never a dull moment in your class and all of the fun stories about your life and racing will be with me forever- let me know if you are ever in WI and I will come watch you lay rubber at Elkhart- I was just there for the AMA Motorcycle races! But seriously thank you for being a great professor.

  • Marcena Schwab


    8:08 am on June 25, 2013

    Bob, you were one of my favorite professors at Central. You were influential in my decision to make accounting my profession. You brought it to a personal level. I remember sitting in your office talking…not sure if we were even talking about accounting. One of the things I remember most is how often, after I graduated and was working, you would stop and talk to me when we would see each other around town, and ask me about accounting out there in the real world. It always meant so much to me!

  • Leonicia Ramirez '04


    6:45 am on June 25, 2013

    The best accounting professor I ever had. Your passion for teaching made a different for many of us at Central. Congratulations on your retirement, take care yourself and keep racing your toys..


  • Ian Moore


    9:52 pm on June 24, 2013

    I remember growing up with Bob volunteering for his son’s Boy Scout group that I was a part of and then later in life when he was my professor. I learned a lot academically and socially from Bob. He is a great man! I know I don’t have to tell you this, but enjoy your retirement!

  • Mary Dougherty Schwartz '70


    9:01 pm on June 24, 2013

    Congratulations on your retirement, Bob. You were a great part of my Central memories. . I’m coming back for Homecoming this year and hope to run into you. I haven’t been back to Pella in at least 20 years.

  • Jean Schaefer Gallina


    8:36 pm on June 24, 2013

    Dr. Maurer-
    Congratulations on your retirement! Thank you for your contribution to my education. Although I can not believe it has been 30 years since I graduated from Central, I still remember your classes and instruction. Enjoy your retirement….you’ve earned it!
    Jean Schaefer Gallina

  • Pedro Gongora


    7:54 pm on June 24, 2013

    Hola Dr. Maurer. Thanks a lot for the teaching at Central. I was not that good in your class but after many years and far away from Central (I am in Merida Mexico and I own and manage 8 clothing stores), your classes are always in my mind. Financial Management was a killer and your finance sim was espectacular. I graduated in 1984 and after all these years your classes are fresh in my mind eventhough for me were the toughest in my major. Take care and enjoy retirement.

    Pedro Gongora

  • Richard Hollingsworth


    7:25 pm on June 24, 2013

    I met Bob when he was advisor to the Phi Delts and remember his racing stories and photographs. He hosted a Super Bowl party for us at his house and naturally won the pool too as I recall. The ‘coolest’ Prof on campus. Enjoy your retirement, sir.

  • Guy Blair


    3:55 pm on June 24, 2013

    I’ve enjoyed getting to know Robert “Bob” Maurer. We’ve met monthly for close to 40 years for our Tulip City Stock Club meeting. We recently dissolved the group, and I’m going to have to find another reason to get together with Bob. He is definitely one of the most positive, interesting, and friendly people I’ve ever known.

  • Kyle Winward


    10:20 am on June 12, 2013

    “I’ve grown up and the students haven’t—they are still 20-year-olds.” I love that comment and God speed, Bob!