Barry McNamara  |   Published July 05, 2022

Retirement Profile: Frank and Judy

Husband-and-wife team of Gersich and Peterson had significant impact on Monmouth accounting students.

NEARLY 50 YEARS: Wife-and-husband accounting professors Judy Peterson and Frank Gersich have both... NEARLY 50 YEARS: Wife-and-husband accounting professors Judy Peterson and Frank Gersich have both taught at Monmouth since 1998, giving them almost a half-century of combined service to the College. MONMOUTH, Ill. – For the better part of a quarter-century, it could be said that the husband-and-wife team of Frank Gersich and Judy Peterson had a “monopoly” on the accounting program at Monmouth College.

The duo arrived on campus in 1998 and quickly became the heart of the program. In addition, Gersich took on a key administrative role, serving as associate dean of academic affairs, where one of his major tasks was preparing the College for its vital accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

As they move on to their next stop in Peterson’s hometown of Salina, Kansas, the couple is being celebrated by a generation of Monmouth accounting students who’ve gone on to career success.

“Frank and Judy single-handedly have helped me to be in the life I currently am,” said certified public accountant Emily Flint Schmidt ’16, who works at Crowe LLP. “Judy helped teach me the fundamentals of accounting through a crazy adaptation of (the board game) Monopoly. Her classes laid the integral foundation for how accounting works, allowing me to take the very basic accounting concepts and apply them to technical and complex real-life client situations.”

“Frank and Judy were certainly a huge part of the accounting program at Monmouth and are going to be missed. They both made things interesting in their own way – Frank with his dry wit and Judy with her happy-go-lucky attitude and finding a way to involve Monopoly in accounting.” Nyle Stevens


“Frank and Judy were certainly a huge part of the accounting program at Monmouth and are going to be missed,” said Nyle Stevens ’17, an audit manager at RSM. “They both made things interesting in their own way – Frank with his dry wit and Judy with her happy-go-lucky attitude and finding a way to involve Monopoly in accounting. Their instruction was a big reason why I was able to get my foot in the door working in public accounting and gave me the foundation I needed to be able to pass the CPA exam. They were very committed to their students and to Monmouth College.”


Not a ‘bored’ game

“I brought it from a previous institution, and I’d seen it before that, but I made it my own,” said Peterson of her Monopoly activity, which she also taught to accounting instructors at conferences. “It could be hard to grade, but I got so good at it, I could tell very quickly what they’d done wrong.”

Angela Wasson Szumski ’01 is the senior manager of shared services at Inotiv in Indianapolis. She was on an entirely different academic path until she began moving her piece along a square game board, passing Boardwalk and Park Place on her way to “Go!”

“I started college thinking I’d major in medical technology, but my first accounting class with Judy changed my mind immediately,” said Szumski. “My career has allowed me to try numerous areas of accounting and, to think, it all started by booking Monopoly entries. To this day, I stay in touch with Judy, and I’m looking forward to hearing her retirement adventures.”


Making an impact

Schmidt also enjoyed her relationship with Peterson outside the classroom.

“Not only is Judy a wealth of knowledge, she is like a mother – kind, easy to talk to and always welcoming,” she said. “Additionally, Judy advocates for the VITA program each year, which is not only instrumental for students to learn real-world tax, but is also so important for the Monmouth community.”

“I believe VITA is the most impactful thing I’ve ever done. It made a difference for this community. It meant a lot to them, to the students and to me.” Judy Peterson 


The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which provides free income tax preparation to the local community, seemed to grow a little more every year through the start of the pandemic. In 2019, for example, the Internal Revenue Service program, which Peterson started on campus in 2000, prepared an even 1,000 returns at no cost to area residents, earning the Service Excellence Award at the College’s Highlander Awards ceremony.

“I believe VITA is the most impactful thing I’ve ever done,” said Peterson, who plans to stay involved with the program as a volunteer in Salina. “It made a difference for this community. It meant a lot to them, to the students and to me. I always believed that it wasn’t simply about accounting. It was about the community, and it really opened the students’ eyes.”


CPA & HLC

VITA brought Monmouth’s students into the public eye, but former students said there were plenty of contributions by the couple that went unnoticed by many.

“I have always felt that Frank and Judy both excelled at experiential learning opportunities for students,” said Jessica DeVore Johnston ’04, a commercial consultant in Caterpillar’s Enterprise Strategy Division. “Frank’s integration of the ‘Accounting Systems’ class into the upper level curriculum was an intentional – and for those like me, painful – way to set students up for success in the workplace. Less than one month in to my professional career, however, I was exceptionally grateful that he had pushed us and prepared us with the technological tools we would need to excel – pun intended.”

Johnston also said both professors were ahead of their time in encouraging their students to seek internships.

“While I didn’t spend as much of my time with Frank, one pivotal piece that he accomplished for the College was getting the Monmouth accounting curriculum pre-approved for eligibility to take the CPA exam,” said Schmidt. “This allowed me to fast-track my way into sitting for the CPA exams, as I already had all the required courses necessary. Additionally, he did it for a four-year program, while many institutions require a master’s degree as part of its preapproved option. Not only did this well-kept secret save me time and money, but having the CPA directly out of undergrad has afforded me options I don’t think I would have otherwise been given.”

Gersich, who has written questions for the CPA exam since starting at Monmouth, said that the exam’s “blueprint changes every five years or so,” which required an adjustment in what the College’s accounting students were taught.

“And coming up in a year and half, there’s going to be a major change,” said Gersich, who will continue to teach this fall at McPherson College in Kansas. “We put the things in place so that Monmouth students could be ready for the CPA exam. Along with (former accounting professor) Connie Mersch, we structured our courses so that they built on each other, rather than being random offerings.”

Gersich will also stay involved with the HLC as he moves on to Kansas. To help prepare for Monmouth’s accreditation process, he was involved with 70 visits or events, from California to West Virginia.

“Both Judy and Frank were so instrumental to where I am in my current career. … I continually take so many of the fundamentals they taught and apply them for my clients on a daily basis. I cannot thank them enough.” Emily Flint Schmidt


“It helped a lot going on those visits,” said Gersich. “We knew more what to expect when it came time for our review.”

For that dedicated service, and for Monopoly, for VITA and for friendship, Schmidt is grateful for her Monmouth accounting professors.

“Both Judy and Frank were so instrumental to where I am in my current career,” she said. “Their teaching styles brought opportunities for students to think critically, learn accounting basics and put those accounting basics to the test. I continually take so many of the fundamentals they taught and apply them for my clients on a daily basis. I cannot thank them enough.”

“The biggest takeaway for me is the students. We pushed them and challenged them, but we were also there to support them. I really enjoyed the camaraderie.” Frank Gersich


“The biggest takeaway for me is the students,” said Gersich. “We pushed them and challenged them, but we were also there to support them. Some of them would come into my office and take a look at my cat pictures and just zen out a bit. I really enjoyed the camaraderie.”

“I’m going to miss them terribly,” said Peterson.

“I am incredibly grateful for everything that Frank and Judy have done for me personally and professionally,” said Johnston. “I also cannot help but be a little sad for the next generation of accounting students that will miss out on these amazing educators.”

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