Lawrence and Merrily Nilles

Lawrence and Merrily Nilles

Lawrence J. Nilles is a 1967 NIU graduate with a B.S. degree in accountancy. He worked his way through school with a number of jobs, including one he held for several years at Rick’s Pizza in DeKalb. Encouraged by his professor, Dr. Donald Kieso, Larry participated in the NIU internship program at Price Waterhouse (now PWC). This work led to a permanent position within the company, where he became a Senior Accountant. With great training from both NIU and on the job, he passed the CPA examination in one sitting. Larry jokes that “It was the easiest CPA exam ever!”Larry left Price Waterhouse in 1972 to become Assistant Controller for Santa Fe Industries, a Price Waterhouse client. During the 1977-78 academic year, Larry was a Sloan Fellow at the prestigious Stanford Graduate School of Business, earning an M.S. in management. In 1981, he and his family moved to Houston, where he was named a Vice President of Santa Fe Energy Company, the oil and gas production subsidiary of Santa Fe. After 12 years, two IPOs and a number of corporate re-financings, he left the world of corporate finance and the post of Chief Financial Officer to return to the Midwest. Larry and his wife have resided in Danville, IN, just west of Indianapolis, since 1994. In that time, he has provided financial guidance to a conservation land trust, a railroad interest group, the local public library, and the county’s humane society. But most often he can be seen walking as many as three dogs around the neighborhood or riding his now-15-year-old Trek 2300 on which he’s travelled over 20,000 miles through the Indiana countryside. Merrily S. Nilles, a 1967 NIU graduate, earned her B.A. degree in psychology with a minor in English. After many years of trying to apply these skills to her family and friends, she found her true calling in the realm of animal welfare and humane education. She has worked in this realm in Texas and Indiana and has been a tireless advocate for improvements in the sheltering practices of the local county-operated animal shelter. She has provided leadership and guidance to her local humane society, including serving several terms as president. Most importantly, she has dramatically improved the lives of a dozen or so canine family members, including the incumbent “world’s wussiest” pit bull. And, as her husband fondly says, “Merrily has been the best friend an NIU accountancy graduate could have asked for!”

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