LSU Accounting Grad Receives Impressive Industry Award

Erin Kilpatrick and Dean Richard White

Erin Kilpatrick and Richard D. White Jr., dean of the E. J. Ourso College of Business  

June 7, 2018 

BATON ROUGE – Erin Kilpatrick, who earned both a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Accountancy from the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business, was recently announced as one of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) 2017 Elijah Watt Sells Award winners.

Kilpatrick, a native of Baton Rouge and 2012 graduate of the University Laboratory School, is the only person from Louisiana to earn the award in 2017. She is the first woman from Louisiana to earn the honor since the exam changed to a computer-based test in 2004. Kilpatrick is employed by EY LLP in New Orleans. Her parents are Barry and Leslie Kilpatrick.

The 2017 award was bestowed upon CPA candidates who obtained a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the CPA Examination, passed all four sections of the exam on their first attempt and completed testing in 2017.

A total of 95,858 individuals sat for the exam in 2017, with 58 candidates meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

“The CPA exam protects the public interest by ensuring, along with education and experience requirements, that only qualified individuals are able to become licensed as Certified Public Accountants,” said Mike Decker, AICPA vice president of examinations. “Passing the exam is a career milestone. And the extraordinary performance of this year’s Sells Award winners is truly an impressive accomplishment.”

“Winning the Elijah Watt Sells Award is a tremendous accomplishment,” said E. J. Ourso College of Business Dean Richard D. White Jr. “We are so proud of what Erin has achieved. This is the second consecutive year that an LSU accounting graduate has won the award. Kevin Branley won the 2016 award, and now Erin. This also says a lot about our Department of Accounting. I challenge our accounting students to keep this streak going.”

“I am thankful for the education that I received at LSU,” said Kilpatrick. “The Department of Accounting equipped me with the tools I needed to sit for the exam.”

The CPA exam is updated regularly to maintain its relevance and reliability and ensure the content is consistent with the knowledge and skill requirements of newly licensed CPAs.

The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AICPA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Exam. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the United States, was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role advancing professional education within the profession.

About the Department of Accounting
The Department of Accounting at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business strives for excellence in teaching, research and service to the accounting profession. With a mission of producing graduates at all levels who excel in their pursuits, the department offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in various fields, including industry, auditing, finance, government and academia. For more information, visit our home page, call 225-578-6202, or email

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Contact: Angela McBride
225-578-7833 (o)