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John M. Thornton, Ph.D., CPA

Professor, Chair of Leung School of Accounting
Phone: (626) 812-3095
Fax: (626) 815-3802
John Thornton, Ph.D., is professor and Leung Endowed Chair of Accounting and Ethical Auditing at Azusa Pacific University’s L.P. and Timothy Leung School of Accounting, where he focuses on developing future accounting professionals with competence and character.

He has held faculty senior leadership positions at Washington State University and the U.S. Air Force Academy. His research interests focus on ethics and the accounting profession, with recent emphases in auditor independence, auditor litigation, and whistle-blowing. Thornton is a nationally recognized author and speaker and serves on several editorial boards for accounting ethics, forensics, public interest, and accounting education journals. He is past chair of the American Accounting Association’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee and chair-elect of the AAA’s Public Interest Section.

Thornton received his Ph.D. and master's in Accounting from Washington State University and his B.S. in Accounting from Central Washington University. Between undergraduate and graduate degrees, he held staff- and senior-level positions in both local and international public accounting firms and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Accounting Association, and the Institute of Management Accountants. His favorite people include his wife Alyssa and his three sons Joshua, Benjamin, and Jacob.


  • Ph.D., Washington State University (1996)
  • M.A., Accounting, Washington State University (1991)
  • B.S., Accounting, Central Washington University (1986)


School of Business and Management

  • School of Accounting
  • Graduate Programs
  • Undergraduate Programs


  • Accounting
    Accounting ethics, auditor litigation, and whistle-blowing
  • Money
  • Philosophy

Courses Taught

  • ACCT 120 - Principles of Accounting I
  • ACCT 525 - Accounting Ethics
  • ACCT 540 - Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation
  • ACCT 590 - Integrative Accounting Review
  • ACCT 505 - Accounting Internship