Chancellor of Sigma Alpha Delta: 1947 – 1948
Baruch College Date of Graduation: 1948
Sidney Kess, Esq., CPA, JD, LLM, graduated from Bernard Baruch College (then known as City College Downtown) in 1948 with a BBA in Accounting. During his academic career at Baruch, Mr. Kess was an active member of Sigma Alpha Delta Honor Society, serving as the Chancellor from 1947 – 1948. Unlike today, when students must inquire to join this society, back then, Sigma selected and inducted students on the basis of their scholarship and merit.
After graduating from Baruch, Mr. Kess went on to receive his JD from Harvard Law School and his LLM degree from the New York University School of Law. Next, he served as the National Director of Taxes at KMG Main Hurdman and then as tax partner at KPMG Peat Marwick. He is also a distinguished professor of Business at Campbell University and was formerly an adjunct professor of taxation at Baruch College. Mr Kess is the former chairman of the Advisory Board of the Baruch College Executive Tax Program.
For over 40 years, he has lectured to 45 different state societies and more than 700,000 practitioners and lay persons on tax, financial and estate planning issues. His lectures are valuable to a broad audience because he is able to turn complex ideas into ones that are easier to understand. It is for this reason that many people attend his meetings year after year for up-to-date information. He is also the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Tax Hotline and has edited a number of publications, including the column “Tax Tips” for the New York Law Journal for over 35 years. Sidney Kess has also been hailed as one of the “100 Most Influential CPAs in the U.S.” by Accounting Today multiple times and has been on CPA Magazine’s “Most Influential CPAs in the U.S.” list.
Mr. Kess has created and moderated many organizations such as Estate & Financial Planning, Planning for Retirement and Elder Law, Charitable Giving, Estate, Financial and Retirement Planning, Baruch College Conference on Estate, Financial & Retirement Planning, just to name a few. In addition to his involvement with numerous organizations, he also has authored or coauthored hundreds of books on taxation and audio tax courses for CCH, Inc.
Sidney Kess has been honored as a standard-bearer and a hallmark for the AICPA’s tax continuing education program and as a tax practitioner. The AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) has recognized him with the Distinguished Lecturer Award. Mr. Kess has also been elected to the Estate Planning Hall of Fame by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils for his distinguished service in the field of estate planning and was inducted into the New York State Society of CPA’s Hall of Fame in 2009. Baruch College also honored Sidney Kess in a ceremony in 2007. He is often quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, as well as a number of other publications. In the winter 2003 Issue of Cornerstones: Building Our Community of Tax Authorities, Karen Notaro stated:
“When I think of you Sid, I think of sincerity, integrity, creativity, caring, compassion, kindness, dependability. In a word, you’re amazing. You’re like a Superman out there. Although you may be some five-and-half feet tall, you’re really head-and-shoulders above anyone I have ever met…You’re a guide, a coach, a mentor, a friend. You’re a family man…”1.
It is clear that beyond being a guru of tax knowledge, Mr. Kess is also a man of character. He believes that “the most important thing in life is family; respecting parents; respecting yourself and love what you’re doing.”
Sidney Kess has said that students of Baruch College should realize that they are in a wonderful school. He believes that Baruch is like one big family in spite of how culturally diverse it is. He advises all students of Baruch to be flexible and to never become discouraged, even when the economy is in a rough place, as it is now. He also emphasizes the appreciation of family and giving family members the respect they deserve. Mr. Kess’ hard work, dedication and values have made him into the man that he is today. Sidney Kess has created his very own legacy, paving a path for individuals with similar aspirations to help lead themselves into a successful career and life.
1. Cornerstones: Building Our Community of Tax Authorities, Karen Notaro. Issue 2, Winter 2003.