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Bankable Skills

Accounting degree alumnus now bank president

Jim Dunphy, ’89, once thought he would become a dentist. But, while taking an accounting course in high school, he discovered a passion for crunching numbers rather than drilling teeth. 

Now the president and CEO of South Shore Bank, Dunphy grew his financial acumen as an accounting major at Bridgewater State, a school that stood out for a reason likely to resonate with many business leaders: value.

“The program at Bridgewater for accounting students was very rigorous,” he said. “They wanted to make sure graduates demonstrated proficiency and strength in accounting.”

It was also affordable and allowed him to commute and work while taking classes. And staying close to home helped him focus on his studies.

Dunphy appreciated the blend of classroom and hands-on education at Bridgewater. He interned at Plymouth Home National Bank and worked as a tax preparer for a CPA firm while still a student. Internships, he said, helped him understand workplace culture and proper dress.

He still recalls lessons from Professors Kathleen Sevigny and Harold Silverman, who stressed accounting fundamentals and the importance of always being ethical.

“They really cared and wanted to make sure you learned,” he said. “The program was broad enough and deep enough that I could compete with (graduates from) some of the better-known business schools of the time.”

Dunphy even met his wife, Robyn, through the accounting program. They shared many classes and joined the same study groups.

“It created my family,” he said of the impact of Bridgewater State. “It’s been a big part of my career.”

After graduation, Dunphy worked for the national accounting firm Grant Thornton, eventually being recruited by one of his clients into the world of banking. He has worked for the past decade at South Shore Bank, where he appreciates the opportunity to give back to his community. Dunphy serves on the boards of organizations such as the South Shore YMCA and Massasoit Community College.

He recently spoke to BSU students about the banking industry, as well as job and internship opportunities. His advice to students? Become well-rounded by taking classes outside their majors that build skills that are essential for serving clients.

Dunphy is also a member of the Business Advisory Board for the Ricciardi College of Business and embraces opportunities to help today’s students find their own path to success.

“The value proposition of my education has been fantastic,” he said. “If there’s a way I can help others with that, I want to do it.”

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