An Immeasurable Impact and a Lasting Legacy

Deb Kerby

As a member of the Truman State University family, Dr. Deb Kerby dedicated herself to making our community better and helping students achieve to their fullest potential.

Our colleague and friend Debra "Deb" Kerby, dean of the School of Business, passed away on Jan. 14, 2020, at the age of 64. Since joining the Truman State University accounting faculty in 1982, Dr. Kerby devoted herself to working with students and improving the University. She took great pride in the success of all the business and accountancy students who passed through Violette Hall.

A native of northeast Missouri, Dr. Kerby was in the first class of Pershing Scholars. She earned both a B.S. and an M.A. in business education from Truman and continued her education, earning a Master of Accounting Science from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Additionally, Dr. Kerby held both CPA and CMA certifications.

Dr. Kerby's impact on Truman and her students was immense. She directed the Master of Accountancy program, served as convener of the accounting faculty, coordinated the University's Higher Learning Commission activities and chaired many University-wide committees. In 2011, Dr. Kerby became dean of the School of Business but chose to continue her connection with students as an academic advisor.

Commitment to Truman led Dr. Kerby to accept membership on the Truman State University Foundation Board, a position she held for six years. During that time, Dr. Kerby led efforts for securing funding for Truman and for the School of Business.

Deb KerbyBut Dr. Kerby's generosity extended beyond her time and talents and included a commitment to giving back to Truman financially. By establishing the Kerby Family Business Excellence Fund, Dr. Kerby set in motion a way to continue enhancing technology and learning opportunities for students, faculty and staff within the School of Business. The fund provides scholarships and supports faculty by providing resources to attend academic conferences and additional opportunities for research.

Dr. Kerby set an example for all by supporting her alma mater with current cash gifts, but she also looked to the future and set up Truman as beneficiary of her IRAs and as beneficiary of one of her life insurance policies. This combination of current and planned giving will make the Kerby Family Business Excellence Fund one of the premier endowed funds. Her impact on Truman and our students will live on because of her foresight.

If you would like to make a gift to the Kerby Family Business Excellence Fund, you may do so on this page. We also invite you to share a memory or story about Dr. Kerby's impact if you would like. To learn more about how you can make a lasting impact at Truman through planned giving, please contact Marie Murphree, CFRE, at 660-785-4124 or