Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director of the New Jersey Society of CPAs (NJCPA), was awarded the Dr. Costel Denson ’56 Award, named in honor of Lehigh University’s first African-American graduate. The award is presented to alumni who have shown leadership in “identifying and implementing pathways to increase diversity in the American workplace and in our educational institutions.”
“Ralph Thomas has exemplified the very meaning of the award by living the values that the award represents and furthering those beliefs for the next generation,” said Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics.
Ralph is currently a member of the accounting advisory boards of Lehigh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Montclair State, Felician and Thomas Edison universities, as well as Middlesex County College. In addition, he is a member of Lehigh University’s Audit Committee, the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and the College of Business Board of Advisors, and he has been named a Lehigh University Trustee Emeritus. He was also a past chair of the Lehigh University Audit Committee and the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and a former member of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees and Finance, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Campus Planning & Operations committees. In addition, Ralph is a lifetime member and former national and chapter president of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). In January 2018, Ralph was invited by Senate President Steve Sweeney to join a newly formed bipartisan Economic and Fiscal Policy Review Working Group comprised of a variety of economists and policy experts. He earned a B.S. in business and economics as well as an M.B.A. from Lehigh University.