Chris Prestigiacomo awarded 2024 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

March 12, 2024
Contact: Eric Stann, 573-882-3346,

Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri, and Steve Sowers, chief executive officer of Commerce Bank’s Missouri community markets, today awarded a 2024 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence to Chris Prestigiacomo. Prestigiacomo is an associate teaching professor in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, teaching various accountancy classes to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Balaji Rajagopalan, dean of the College of Business, joined other administrators surprising Prestigiacomo by honoring him with the fellowship, which includes a $15,000 check. Kemper Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

Chris Prestigiacomo
Chris Prestigiacomo biography

Since 1984, there’s never been a day Chris Prestigiacomo didn’t want to come to school.

“My primary goal is to give my students the opportunity to improve their lives by adding to their human capital,” he said in his teaching philosophy statement. “Having contact with more than 1,000 students each year, I have the responsibility to bring the promise of a better life to each and every one. This involves not only teaching accounting material in an organized and understandable manner, but also critical thinking skills and other life lessons.”

One of the countless students Prestigiacomo impacted was William Shafer in the extremely popular Accounting I course — a requirement for all business students.

“He managed to teach in a lighthearted, jovial manner, making seemingly tedious topics enjoyable to learn,” Shafer said in his nomination letter. “Dr. Prestigiacomo purposefully dedicates time to weave insightful life lessons into the curriculum, sharing personal stories that enrich the learning journey and contribute to a comprehensive educational experience. I left the class not only with a solid understanding of accounting principles but also as a more confident and capable individual.”

Rajagopalan echoed Shafer’s sentiment, noting Prestigiacomo’s passion, rigor, fairness, caring nature and dedication to student success.

“Chris takes difficult technical content and teaches it in a manner that students easily comprehend, enabling them to utilize their newfound financial knowledge and business acumen in various career pathways,” Rajagopalan said in his nomination letter. “His teaching approach is multi-faceted and finely calibrated to each class. His student and peer evaluations are outstanding, with his median scores being remarkable for such large lecture classes.”

Prestigiacomo teaches Principles of Accounting I and II, Intermediate Accounting, Financial Statement Analysis, and Cost Accounting at the undergraduate level, in addition to teaching multiple classes at the graduate level.

“Teaching in mass lectures of between 300 and 400 students, Chris continues to teach these courses with as much enthusiasm and vigor as he did when he started some 19 years ago,” said Loren A. Nikolai, an Ernst & Young Professor Emeritus in the Trulaske College of Business, in his nomination letter.

Outside the classroom, Prestigiacomo advises students as they study for their Chartered Financial Analyst exams and reviews accounting textbooks for McGraw-Hill and Prentice Hall. He also serves as a faculty advisor to numerous student organizations, including the National Association of Black Accountants, Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and the Mizzou Investors Group. 

Prestigiacomo’s numerous accolades include the 2023 Riggs Excellence in MBA Teaching Award, the 2022 MU ROAR Professor of the Year Award, the 2019 execMBA Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2018 School of Accountancy Advisory Board Teaching Excellence Award.

But it’s the impact on his students he cherishes the most.

“I tell my students: months after they complete my course, the goal is not to remember what was on page 219 of the text, but to have added a handful of new ideas that they find particularly relevant or interesting,” Prestigiacomo said. “Education provides the opportunity to be enlightened by new ideas. This has the added benefit of making us more tolerant by broadening our perspectives.”

Prestigiacomo earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1980, a Master of Business Administration degree in 1981 and a doctoral degree in finance in 1995, all from MU. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Certified Management Accountant. Prestigiacomo has been an associate teaching professor in the School of Accountancy within the College of Business since 2008.

Story written by Brian Consiglio

Meet all of the 2024 recipients

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