Accounting for Humor: On Jim “Buzz” Borra
Bob Zgorski, ′74, on Jim “Buzz” Borra
April 3, 2012
When Bob Zgorski, ’74, walked into his first accounting class, he was apprehensive and curious. “I knew accounting was the language of business, and I anticipated it to be rather serious, some might even say boring,” he said.
In walked the instructor, Jim “Buzz” Borra.
“From the very minute he stepped into the classroom, he was just a live wire,” Zgorski said. “He just had a way to communicate what was important and he did in a way to keep our attention.”
And Borra’s classes offered more than laughs. “In addition to being entertaining, he was effective. He knew the subject matter. And he also knew how to get to the important component. At the end of the day we all wanted to graduate with an accounting degree and pass the CPA exam, and Mr. Borra was wonderful at helping us know what to focus on.”
Zgorski did pass the CPA exam, partly thanks to the “buzz” words, acronyms, and memory joggers Borra—who earned an MBA from Loyola in 1976—used to help his students remember complex accounting and financial concepts.
“Accounting’s the language of business,” said Zgorski. Just through what he called the war stories, about the practical application, he kept us engaged for the whole time, and he made us all appreciate the importance of it. He knew how to get to the essence of it.”
Zgorski hadn’t seen his accounting instructor in 35 years when he and five former classmates met Borra for lunch about a year ago. Borra still teaches CPA preparation courses and lives in Bethesda, Md. “I swear it was the same Jim Borra. He was unmistakable. His sense of humor was sharper than ever.”
Now living in Glenelg, Md., Zgorski recently retired from his position as CFO for Zurich Companies’ Maryland Casualty Company and is planning to start his own small business and personal financial planning business.
“When Mr. Borra first met us, I guess I was an 18-year-old freshman,” said Zgorski, who commuted to Loyola from Reisterstown, Md. “A lot of things have gone on since that time, but the important thing is the relationships we developed. As Jim said, ‘Time is your most precious commodity.’”