Araya Debessay

Professor of Accounting

Department: Accounting & MIS
Campus Address: 305 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 $1.4 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Fund, 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.

Lerner College faculty - like Anu Sivaraman, who is among Social Media Marketing Magazine’s “Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter” and’s “Top 50 Marketing Professors on Twitter” - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

All Lerner College departments offer experience-driven learning and emphasize evidence-based analytics methods to enrich the student experience. Here, finance students visit New York City’s financial districts for a first-hand look at markets trading and to meet with UD alumni.

Charles W. Horn, AS75, and wife Patricia, recently made a $3 million commitment to enhance and expand entrepreneurial studies.

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