From Russia, With Love

When Ginger Wagner first came to Syracuse University she studied Russian language and linguistics and had a plan to achieve her Ph.D. in Slavic linguistics. She loved the language and everything about it. But when the Berlin Wall fell, everything changed.

Professor Wagner ended up working at a rental agency on campus, a job that paid the bills but not necessarily one that excited her. She decided to return to academia and get her MBA at the Whitman School. Her first course? Introduction to Financial Accounting.

“I was hooked. I absolutely loved it,” said Professor Wagner. “After taking economics, that sealed the deal for me, I knew I was meant to be an accountant.”

Wagner completed both her MBA and her M.S. accounting, learning from many of the professors who are now her colleagues today.

“I enjoy tax law the most because it’s logical to me,” she said. “I love the aspect of not knowing the answer but being able to find it through a logical progression.”

After graduating with her master’s degrees, Professor Wagner joined Dannible and McKee in Syracuse and worked as an accountant there, a job she loved despite some challenging clients! But after a while, and as her family grew, she kept having the feeling that she wanted to do more.

“After my son was born, I really thought about how I could give back and make the world a better place,” she said. “I really wanted to teach.”

She accepted a position first to teach one accounting class at Whitman, but that quickly grew to three sections of that class and since fall 2007, she hasn’t looked back. Professor Wagner, an assistant professor of accounting practice, has taught seven courses in accounting at Whitman through the years, including corporate finance! She now is teaching in the online accounting master’s program, Accounting@Syracuse, as well.

In addition to her teaching load, Professor Wagner will assume a position on the undergraduate board, which reviews curriculum for the undergraduate majors. Plus, she is passionate about the annual Deloitte Tax Competition in which she participates with undergraduate and graduate students. She also judges the capstone business plan competition every semester.

“I am committed to the students, who I call my ‘children,’” she said. “Everything I do here is for the betterment of them. I have one ‘baby,’ my 14-year-old son, but I have hundreds of children.”

Those children are likely very happy to call Professor Wagner, “mom.”