Canisius Alumnus Receives Elijah Watt Sells Award in Accounting

April 22, 2020

Buffalo, NY – Canisius College is proud to announce that alumnus Donald R. Hymers Jr. ’18, MBAA ’19, of Cheektowaga, NY, is a recipient of the 2019 Elijah Watt Sells Award, presented by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).  To qualify for the award, CPA candidates must obtain a cumulative average score above 95.5 across all four sections of the uniform CPA examination, pass all four sections on their first attempt and have completed testing in 2019.  More than 75,000 individuals sat for the 2019 CPA exam.  Hymers was one of only 137 candidates who met the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award.  Only three individuals from New York institutions received this award, representing Canisius College, Columbia University and New York University.

Donald R. Hymers Jr.

“On behalf of Canisius College, I would like to commend Don for his impressive accomplishment,” said Ian Redpath, JD, LLM, chair of the Accounting Department at Canisius College.  “The CPA exam is a rigorous assessment and he should be proud of his exceptional performance.”

“Don’s achievement is a testament to his hard work and the hard work of our accounting faculty,” added Denise Rotondo, PhD, dean of the Richard J. Wehle School of Business

“The challenging curriculum, exceptional program standards and real-world experiences our professors make available to students results in successful graduates who are in high demand by employers in Western New York and across the country.”

Hymers is part of the assurance staff at EY LLP in Buffalo, NY.  He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in accounting from Canisius College, during which time he was a member of the All-College Honors Program and participated in the Economics-Finance Club and Accounting Society.  Hymers also spent three years as a finance intern with Moog Inc. in East Aurora, NY.  Established in 1923, the Elijah Watt Sells Award recognizes outstanding performance on the CPA exam.  The award’s namesake was one of the first CPAs in the United States.  He was active in the establishment of the American Institute of CPAs and played a key role in advancing education within the profession.

Hymers is the second Canisius College alumnus to receive this prestigious award.  In 2016, the American Institute of CPAs conferred the Elijah Watt Sells Award upon Paige Burkard ’15, MBA ’16.  At the time, Burkard was one of 58 candidates out of 102,323 nationwide to meet the criteria and receive the award.

The Canisius College accounting program is ranked in the top 6% in the nation. It is the only Western New York program and one of only two programs in New York State to be ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 list of Best Undergraduate Business Program. Canisius accounting graduates are consistently top performers on the New York State CPA exam. Most recently, alumni of Canisius’ undergraduate accounting program, who sat for the CPA exam for the first time within one year of graduation, ranked No. 1 New York State and No. 15 nationally.   

The Department of Accounting at Canisius College is housed within the Richard J. Wehle School of Business.  Considered Western New York’s premier private business school, the Wehle School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).    Fewer than five percent of business schools, worldwide, have earned this accreditation, which is considered a symbol of the highest standard in business education.

One of 27 Jesuit universities, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Visit for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.