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A Trailblazer without Battle Scars

A Trailblazer without Battle Scars
The historical significance of Rose Marie (Rosie) Loven Bukics’ time at Scranton didn’t hit her until recently. Now a professor of accounting at Lafayette College, Bukics was researching her current school’s history when she learned its transition to a coeducational institution in 1973 caused some controversy. 

As a member of the first class of women graduates of Scranton, Bukics should easily relate to the struggles of the women at Lafayette, but she can’t — at least not completely. Her Scranton story isn’t one of discrimination or overcoming immense odds. Instead it is one of professors who challenged and cared for her.

“I don’t remember it being a big deal. I really don’t,” Bukics said. “I never felt there was a difference, that I was either discriminated against or patronized.”

That isn’t to say Bukics hasn’t faced her fair share of challenges. She was one of only two women professionals in her office at her first job out of college. She also was one of two women in the internal audit department she worked in after that and the pattern continued with her arrival at Lafayette. She was the first female tenured in the economics department and the first female department head. She’s a trailblazer, no doubt. But instead of feeling like she was doggedly toughing it out, Bukics stood tall because her professors taught her she belonged.

“I would definitely credit the education I got at the University of Scranton for that (confidence),” Bukics said. “I’ve always said, ‘I’m a CPA and a college professor first. I just happen to be a woman.’ So I took the world by storm thinking everything was open to me.”

One of nine children, Bukics grew up in Scranton wanting to be a nurse. But when a back injury kept her from attending nursing school, she worked during the day and took night classes at Scranton. After a year, she enrolled full-time and joined the first class of women students as a sophomore. 

It didn’t take long for Bukics to gravitate to accounting. Taught by professors like John McLean, Dan Houlihan and Ralph Grambo, Bukics loved the logic and systematic approach. It just made sense to her. 

She was also very involved on campus, participating in the fall review and serving as president of the accounting club. In 1976, Bukics graduated at the top of the accounting group, receiving the PICPA (Pa. Institute of Certified Public Accountants) “Award for Excellence.” 

After working for the “Big Eight” firm of Haskins and Sells and obtaining both her CPA and MBA, Bukics worked as an internal auditor and taught classes at a community college at night. After two years, she realized she had her full-time and part-time jobs backward. When she saw an opening at Lafayette, she jumped on it and hasn’t looked back. 

For the last 33 years, Bukics has been a standout on the Lafayette faculty, winning multiple teaching awards and publishing seven books. She received Scranton’s O’Hara Award in 1997 and won the PICPA state-wide accounting educator excellence award in 2012.

More importantly, she’s helped thousands of young people reach their goals. Bukics says she tries to offer students the same personal attention she received at Scranton. Each semester, with each class, she challenges herself to memorize each student’s name by the end of the first class. 

She also helps students with resumes and career advice. In other words, her door is always open. “I absolutely adore coming to work every day,” Bukics said. “There’s nothing more satisfying than working with college students and helping them figure out what their life is going to be like.” 
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