The Baruch College community is deeply saddened at the March 18 passing of Irving Chaykin(’32), Professor Emeritus in the Stan Ross Department of Accountancy at Baruch College.
Irving Chaykin arrived at Baruch in 1929 and never left us. He was a beloved faculty member for more than 35 years and a loyal alumnus his entire adult life. The famed Chaykin CPA Review course trained generations of accountants. In 1995, the College preserved his legacy by dedicating the Irving J. Chaykin Conference Room in the Newman Library in his honor. Baruch alumni everywhere remember him with deep affection and respect.
We extend our heartfelt sympathies to Clarice, his wife of more than 60 years; his children Daniel, Maury and Debra; his many grandchildren, and to his former colleagues and students. “Irving was a gem,” said President Kathleen Waldron.”Thousands of Baruchians who had the pleasure of knowing and learning from him are his living legacy.”
Those who knew Professor Chaykin personally and professionally are invited to submit their memories of him to Baruch online at http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/alumni/irvingchaykinmemorysubmission.htm.
The College has also created a special fund in memory of Professor Chaykin’s many contributions to Baruch. To make a donation, visit https://www.alumniconnections.com/olc/pub/BAC/onlinegiving/showGivingForm.jsp?form_id=383
The following article on his life-long involvement with the College appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of Baruch College Alumni Magazine. It was written by Diane Harrigan.
Everybody Loves Irving
Accountancy professor emeritus and jokester all wrapped up in one 93-year-old package: that’s how one might describe Professor Irving Chaykin (’32), who has shown for over eight decades what it takes to become and remain a Baruch legend.
For starters, friends and former colleagues describe him in the most glowing terms. According to Sidney Lirtzman, professor of management and vice president and dean emeritus of the Zicklin School, Chaykin is “an icon, one of the best-known accountants of his generation.”
Lirtzman and others credit him with being among a core group of faculty who helped create the modern accountancy department, which solidified the national reputation of the entire institution. Steven Lilien, Weinstein Professor of Accountancy, says, “Irving has a reputation as an outstanding communicator of the nuances of financial reporting. His talents helped train and prepare many of today’s New York-area CPAs through the Chaykin CPA Review Course, which he founded.” And with the professional encomiums comes a simpler but as true sentiment, summarized thus: “Everyone loves the guy.”
Chaykin arrived at the City College Downtown campus before there was a campus. During his freshman year, the 17 Lexington Avenue building wasn’t ready to be occupied. A year later, it still wasn’t ready; nonetheless, students attended classes on the first four floors, with construction noise coming from the stories above. This inconvenience seemed like nothing come October, when the business students and the nation were faced with the stock market crash and the ensuing Great Depression.
But Chaykin and his classmates soldiered on. He worked hard to master course content, and at first, he struggled (“I earned a C in my first accounting class,” he recalls). But by graduation, his skills were so honed that the accountancy chair offered him a teaching position. “It was an offer I couldn’t refuse, and it began a 35-year love affair with a college–minus about four years serving in the army in World War II,” he says. City College’s original offer was “an annual stipend of $600–that’s $600 for the year–plus four evening session hours at $2 per hour.”
This was a truly grand sum for the time, as Chaykin illustrates with a story: “A fellow graduate took a job where at the end of the week he received a check for a dime (after deductions). He then went to the bank to cash it, and the teller asked him,’How do you want it? Heads or tails?’ Apocryphal, if not true,” he adds mischievously.
This charming storyteller can recount collegiate tales from the 1930s all the way through the ’60s. A favorite underscores his insistence on classroom standards: “I was a stickler for punctuality. And, on some occasions, when the students showed up late, they were denied admittance. On one fateful day, the subway system failed me, and I arrived late. When I rushed into the classroom, I was confronted with an empty room and a note in large strokes on the blackboard:’WE WUZ HERE AND YOU WUZ AIN’T. NOW YOU IZ HERE AND WE IZ AIN’T.’
At the next scheduled class meeting, we all had a good laugh, and I flunked the entire group. No, I’m only kidding. Actually, I complimented the author on his literary style, and we ordered up bagels and lox for all.”
Of all the generations of students, Chaykin admits to a special fondness for the returning WWII veterans. “It was an older group, and they were eager for success. Members of this group have become the College’s most generous donors to date: Newman, Zicklin, Roth, Wasserman, etc.”
But Chaykin, like others involved with Baruch over the long term, sees the constancy of the College’s mission throughout the decades. “Apart from the new diversity, there’s no difference in the students. Baruch has insisted on and maintained consistently high admission requirements, ensuring its excellence.”