Gary R. Gerson«more alumni
Gary R. Gerson, CPA, UF Alumnus 1954
- 1933: Born in Baltimore, MD
- 1952: Began first UF organized tutoring/counseling program for athletes
- 1955: BSBA in Business Admin. with high honors and Masters Degree
- 1955: Became Youngest CPA in U.S. at 21
- 1955: Received US Navy Commission
- 1959: Founder of Gerson Preston Robinson & Co. Accounting
- 1961: Recipient of Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at St. Thomas Univ.
- 1984: Member of the Board of Directors of the UF Foundation
- 1989: Established Gary R. Gerson Lecture Series at the Univ. of Florida
- 1992: Chairman of Board of Mount Sinai Medical Center of Greater Miami
- 1994: Recipient of the University of Florida Distinguished Alumnus Award
- 1996: Recipient of “Man of the Year” award from the City of Miami Beach
- 1998: Created the Dick Jones football endowment for UF Athletic Dept.
- 2001: Received FICPA Outstanding CPA in Public Service Award
- 2001: Inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame
- 2003: Dedicated Gary R. Gerson Hall on UF campus
- 2007: Recipient of the first “UF Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award”
- 2007: Honorary membership in the Florida Blue Key Honor Fraternity
“I owe much of my success to the outstanding education I received at UF.”
Gary R. Gerson, the founding senior partner of Gerson, Preston, Robinson & Company, achieved success through talent, hard work, and unwavering commitment to his clients and his community. His tremendous dedication continues to drive him today.
The Early Years...
Born October 18, 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland, Gerson and his family moved to Florida when he was 10 years old and has since called Florida home. Gerson's decision to enter the accounting field was based on the results of an aptitude test he took in high school. “When I was a senior in high school, everyone wanted to become a doctor. But an aptitude test I took showed I should be an accountant. At that time, I didn't know what an accountant was.”
While a freshman at the University of Florida, Gerson began tutoring student athletes. By his sophomore year Gary set up the first organized tutoring and counseling program for athletes with a new athletic department which had classrooms and offices especially built for the program. By the time he graduated he was supervising about 40 tutors, and while at Florida, no athlete lost eligibility because of poor grades. Because of this accomplishment, Gary was inducted into the University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Gary graduated from the University of Florida with high honors in only three years and obtained his Master's degree the following year. At that time, the Florida CPA licensing requirements allowed the substitution of a Master's degree for one year of work experience. Because of this, Gary was able to sit for the CPA exam. He passed the exam and was licensed while still only 21 years old becoming the youngest CPA in the country at that time.
Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy. His first duty was on a Destroyer Escort as the supply and gunnery officer policing the North Atlantic at the height of the cold war. When the Navy discovered he had a Master's degree in accounting and was a CPA, he was assigned to head the Navy Area Audit Office in Orlando, where he was responsible for the audits of government contracts such as the Vanguard and Pershing missile programs.
CPA, Businessman, Entrepreneur...
After four years in the Navy, Gary entered public accounting and began his own practice in Miami Beach. The firm has grown steadily and today Gerson, Preston, Robinson & Company employs approximately 60 professionals and has satellite offices in Boca Raton, Aventura and downtown Miami. Mr. Gerson employs a “hands on” philosophy, overseeing all aspects of business operations within the firm. A significant portion of his public accounting practice concentrates on litigation support engagements, international taxation, and other key areas of growth in the 21st century. With more than 40 years experience in public accounting, taxation, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, financial institutions, government and not-for-profit organizations he is a noted expert in the field of litigation support for business damages. He co-authored a manual for the Florida Department of Transportation entitled, “A Presentation Regarding A CPA's View of Varying Interpretations of Business Damages under Florida Law” and serves as an expert witness in 13 Florida county courts and the Federal Courts of Central and South Florida.
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Gary has generously and consistently “given back” to the community by contributing his time and financial resources to many charitable, civic and educational organizations. Gerson says his success as a CPA is what enabled and motivated him to get involved in civic duties. He says his “specialty is fundraising and that he is a much sought-after board member for many charities. I've been able to do that because I have been lucky enough to have very successful clients. CPA's can do so much by identifying the causes that can help humanity and also the people who can really help with giving.”
His work in the community began with the Mount Sinai Medical Center of Miami, the largest not-for-profit teaching hospital in South Florida. Gary initially became involved with the hospital because he was impressed with its work. “It's a fine teaching institution, which does research and gives free care to the indigent. There is no better place to give of your services and your assets than to an institution that heals the indigent.”
Gerson became President and Chairman of the Board of Mt. Sinai. Gerson has also donated his time, talent and money to a number of organizations, including the Concert Association of Florida, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the University of Miami, FIU and the University of Florida.
He has donated a variety of scholarships not only to the University of Florida, but also to Florida International University and the University of Miami. He also has established a lecture series and contributed to the School of Jewish Studies at the University of Florida. He has been one of the most successful fund raisers for the University, receiving the first University of Florida Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award. All of this service to the University resulted in the naming of the new accounting building, Gary R. Gerson Hall.
Gerson bases his philanthropic efforts and assets based upon the credo that no student should be deprived of an education because of financial reasons and no human being should be denied medical care because they are unable to afford it. He has diligently worked in both areas and has earned the gratitude of his community. “I really like a direct approach, giving direct help to students, who otherwise would have difficulty,” reflects Gerson. He also says that the thank you letters he receives from scholarship recipients make it all worthwhile.
He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Florida in 1992 and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from St. Thomas University in 1987. In 1996, Gerson was named Citizen of the Year in the City of Miami Beach. In 2001, he was the recipient of the Man of the Year Award in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties from the Miami Herald's Jewish Star Times. In recognition of his lifelong charitable activities, the FICPA named Gary the Outstanding CPA in Public Service in 2001.
Besides being busy with his accounting practice and his philanthropic efforts, Gerson and his wife, Niety, of Amsterdam, Holland, have four children who all have earned advanced college degrees and are all very successful in their professions of finance and accounting. He and Niety also have eight grandchildren, who they attempt to see on a weekly basis.
“I am truly blessed and very lucky to have had the opportunities to work and see the fruits of my endeavors. I am very much indebted to the University of Florida for providing me the education and opportunity, which enabled me to attain these accomplishments. I always say that it was the education, opportunity and diversity at the University, which made the difference.”
“I am, indeed, fortunate to have reached this point in my life and I am committed to continue all I can do to be a success as a family man, in my professional life and as a dedicated worker for the University of Florida and other philanthropic institutions.”