Mortimer A. Dittenhofer ’37

2002 Distinguished Citizen Award

View all Distinguished Citizen Award recipients

Mort Dittenhofer graduated from Macalester with a degree in economics, from Northwestern University in 1942 with a master’s in accounting and from American University with a Ph.D. in 1974. Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army in 1942, he followed a week behind the D-Day troops at Omaha Beach and performed a very specialized wartime function. Working with other members of the Allies, Dittenhofer designed the accounting system used to determine possession of Nazi and German government property recovered as the Allies advanced.

Back in the States, Dittenhofer was an auditor for the Atomic Energy Commission for 10 years, where under top-secret clearance he accounted for radioactive material and weapons. Over the next seven years he worked for NASA and HEW before being assigned to the General Accounting Office where he headed a 10-person, 2-1/2 year working group that developed the famous Yellow Book of government audit standards. Translated into 23 language editions—most with yellow covers—the Yellow Book set audit standards as practiced by governments all over the world. Dittenhofer retired from the GAO as an assistant director, and from the Army as a full colonel. He then taught accounting and auditing at Georgetown University for seven years and at Florida International University for 15. Now retired from teaching, the Maryland resident recently completed the fifth edition of a book he co-wrote on internal auditing and the third iteration of a monograph on ethics in internal auditing.

For his contributions to the field, Dittenhofer received lifetime achievement awards from the Association of Government Accountants and the American Accounting Association as well as the GAO’s Meritorious Service Award.