Araya Debessay

Professor of Accounting

Department: Accounting & MIS
Campus Address: 209 Purnell Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-6890


Research Interests:

  • International Financial Reporting



  • Ph.D. - Syracuse University
  • MBA,MS - Syracuse University
  • B. Com - Haile Selassie I University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA), (inactive)
  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), (inactive)
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Delaware (inactive)


  • Two books, and over 40 journal and proceedings articles.

For recent presentations and publications, please refer to Professor Debessay's home page 

Awards & Honors

  • Fellow, The Institute to Transform Undergraduate Education at the University of Delaware, 1997.
  • Elected, Faculty Development Liaison for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Accounting Association, March 1997.
  • Fellow, The Center For Advance Study, Instructional Improvement Project, University of Delaware, 1995-96.
  • Department of Accounting Nominee for the College-Wide Excellence Award for Teaching. May 1995
  • Coordinator of the Eritrean World-Wide Peace March, March 26, 1999, calling for the peaceful resolution of the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
  • Lobbying Chair of the Association of Eritrean Professionals and Academics for Development, 1998-99.
  • AAA, Eritrean Accounting Association (EAA)
  • Association of Eritrean Professionals and Academics for Development (AEPAD) AICPA, DECPA
  • 2010 Inclusive Excellence Award for Accounting and Business School Faculty Award, Ernst & Young
  • 2003 Student Choice Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • 1991 Innovation in Business Education Award, from the Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration.
  • 1989 University of Delaware Excellence-in-Teaching Award, 1989.
  • 1988 Dean's nominee for a State Professor of the Year Competition, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), 1988, Certificate of Recognition.
  • 1988 and 1980 Outstanding Teaching Award, Department of Accounting, College of Business and Economics, University of Delaware.
  • Technical Consultant, The Siegfried Group, LLP. Served in a variety of accounting, auditing, review, and compilation activities; miscellaneous consulting activities in the financial reporting area, including serving as an Internal Inspector of Quality Control for Peer Evaluation; handled technical accounting and auditing related questions submitted by accounting professionals of the firm; posted hot topics on the firm’s intranet on topics related to recent development in accounting and auditing.
  • W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Newark, DE - involved in assessing internal control system, and conducting CPE workshops to accounting professionals (sabbatical year, September 2003- May 2004).
  • Coopers and Lybrand, General Audit Staff, while on sabbatical leave from the University of Delaware. June 1984 August 1985.
  • E. I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Inc., 1981 to 1984, consulting Professional Development Program in Management Accounting, a program designed to develop managerial accounting skills leading to the Certificate in Management Accounting (CMA).
  • Test Developer and Reviewer In Principle of Accounting, The Chauncey Group International, Princeton, New Jersey, Summer 2002.
  • AICPA CPA Exam Developer and Reviewer, Fall 2002.
  • University: University of Delaware Diversity and Equity Commission Co-chair – 2010 to present
  • University of Delaware Building and Nurturing A Welcoming Campus Climate Chair – 2009
  • University of Delaware Diversity Action Council Member – 2009 to present
  • University of Delaware Diversity Task Force Co-Chair – Feb 2008 to Dec 2008
  • University of Delaware African Heritage Caucus BoardChair – 2009 to 2010
  • Co-Chair – University of Delaware Diversity Task Force – February 2008 – Dec 2008.
  • Member – Audit Committee of the American Red Cross – Delmarva Peninsula starting August 2008.
  • Member of a sub-committee of the Lerner College of Business & Economics Advisory Board.
  • Member of the UD Federal Credit Union- Audit Committee, 2006 – present.
  • Faculty Senator 2005- present
  • Member, Faculty Senate Committee on General Education 2004 - present
  • Member, Committee to Select an External Auditing Firm for the New Castle County, DE, Spring 2003.
  • Reviewer of papers for the AAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting and the Annual Meeting of the AAA.
  • Chair, President's Commission to Promote Racial and Cultural Diversity at the University of Delaware, 1994-1998.
  • University Grand Marshall, 1994-2007.
  • President, Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Accounting Association. 1988-1989.
  • Chairperson, Association of Eritrean Professionals and Academics for Development (AEPAD), 1997-98.
  • Founder and President, Eritrean Accounting Association, 1996-98.
  • Program Director, 1989 Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Accounting Association.
  • Member, Editorial Board, ACCOUNTING HORIZONS, 1997-2000.

The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.5 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Club, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Undergraduate scholarships, made possible through the generosity of alumni and friends, enable us to support promising scholars. Here, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and his mother, Leni Markell, join recipients of the William Markell Scholarship (center), which benefits students in Accounting and MIS.

The Institute for Financial Services Analytics is a collaboration between the Lerner College, UD's College of Engineering and JPMorgan Chase, and hosts events for academics and the business community designed to address consumer analytics and industry applications.

All Lerner College departments offer discovery learning experiences and emphasize data-based analytics to enrich the student experience. Here, students at Vita Nova, our award-winning restaurant run through HRIM, joined professional chefs and winemakers in hosting a 2014 Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival event.

Lerner College faculty - like Meryl Gardner, whose research on foods and moods was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

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