A first-generation college student from Mendota, Timothy Dimond realized at a young age that taking up the family business wasn’t for him.
“I grew up on a farm,” Dimond said. “Aside from dreaming about being an astronaut or cowboy, realistically I could have been a farmer. But the industry was getting tougher, so I decided to get a professional education.”
He attended University of Illinois in 1977 as a liberal arts and sciences major. After being introduced to economics as an undergrad, he discovered a whole new world of opportunities. He decided to switch gears and focus on business finance due to the demand for accountants.
After college, he worked for nine years in the audit department for Ernst and Young in Chicago, then as director of financial reporting for the Marmon Group, Inc., while earning his Master of Business Administration in 1994 from DePaul. He worked in the corporate world for nearly 23 years, but he was ready for a career change. The industry was getting tougher, and he realized he wanted to share his experiences with a younger generation.
Based on the strength of NIU’s accountancy program, Dimond reached out to the university to inquire about teaching positions.
“I had no NIU connection,” Dimond said, “but I decided to try something different. I knew they had a good accounting program, so I looked up the address and sent a cold letter.”
Dimond began teaching at NIU in 2002.
Denise Schoenbachler, dean of the College of Business, said Dimond is the perfect example of the college’s positioning statement of “Where the Classroom Meets the Business World.”
“After a full and incredibly successful business career, Tim came to NIU to share his experiences with our COB students,” Schoenbachler said. “He brings perspectives on international business, ethical leadership, career potential and technical content to his classes.”
Dimond said he tries to lay out all of the advantages, disadvantages and alternatives for his students so they can understand what awaits them after graduation.
“Professor Dimond was very good at relating the material we were learning to his past experiences as CFO,” former student Geoffrey Lemay said. “It was fantastic for me to be able to ask questions about the material that could specifically apply to my future.”
In the classroom, Dimond said his philosophy is to teach class like a business meeting.
“We treat each other with respect,” Dimond said. “I tell them on the first day that I respect their time, but I expect them to be at class on time. I lay the groundwork up front and it makes class more of a business environment.”
Receiving the Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction Award is a validation of the respect Dimond has earned from his students.
“It’s meaningful for me because it comes from the students – it’s the only metric that matters,” Dimond said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have hard-working students who are interested in learning. I’ve had nothing but good luck, and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about NIU.”
Dimond, who resides in Chicago, often teaches at the NIU campuses in Naperville and Hoffman Estates.