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Nate Abebe is recognized as one of 89 people in the nation to be awarded the 2020 Elijah Watt Sells Award, by scoring above a 95.50 on all four sections of the CPA exam.

OSU alum Nate Abebe earns prestigious accounting award

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Media Contact: Bailey Stacy | Communications Coordinator, Marketing & Communications | 405-744-2700 |

Oklahoma State University graduate Nate Abebe is one of only 89 people in the nation to receive the 2020 Elijah Watt Sells Award, presented annually by the American Institute of CPAs — the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession.

The award recognizes those individuals who scored a cumulative average score of above 95.50 across all four sections of the CPA exam, passed all four sections of the exam on their first attempt and have completed all their testing in 2020. More than 75,000 individuals took the CPA exam in 2020.

Abebe graduated from OSU’s Spears School of Business with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting in the spring of 2019 and 2020, respectively. He is employed with Ernest & Young in Tulsa as a tax associate.

“I was excited, but not surprised,” said Audrey Gramling, professor and head of the OSU School of Accounting. “Nate’s receipt of this award demonstrates he is knowledgeable, adaptable, resourceful and focused; already leading to so many successes for him. He is an outstanding representative of the School of Accounting at OSU.”

“I am very honored,” Abebe said. “This award means a lot to me as it is a testament not only of my efforts, but also of those around me who helped me get to where I am today. I am very thankful for the amazing faculty at Oklahoma State, my friends and my family for pushing me, guiding me and praying for me as I prepared for the exams.” 

Founded in 1923, the Elijah Watt Sells Award program annually recognizes those with top CPA exam scores. Sells was one of the first CPAs in the U.S., and was key to the founding of the AICPA, as well as education programs within the profession.

For the complete list of 2020 Elijah Watt Sell Award winners, visit the AICPA’s website:

For more information about OSU’s accounting program, visit the school’s website:

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