Last semester Thomas Stokes, a senior accounting major, was named recipient of the 1998 Accounting Excellence Award by the Houston Chapter and Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Created in 1969 by the TSCPA, the award recognizes outstanding senior accounting students from colleges and universities throughout the state of Texas.
The TSCPA, funded by members and private companies, consists of more than 32,000 members and presents 49 awards every year to Texas students.
"The award is given to students who use their accounting skills to better themselves," explained Milly Pellizzari, external relations coordinator for the TSCPA.
A long-time Houston resident, Stokes attended Elsik High School in Alief I.S.D., graduating cum laude. He chose to attend UH because of its location and reputation, deciding to major in accounting his freshman year.
Stokes attributes his enthusiasm and success in part to his wife's father. "He introduced me to the world of accounting and was a model from which I learned the steps to become an accountant," he said.
The award attempts to promote excellence in education, requiring students to have a high GPA, ongoing involvement in extracurricular activities and a high aptitude for success.
Stokes, who earned a 3.2 GPA last semester, was president of Beta Alpha Psi and a member of the Houston chapter of the TSCPA student auxiliary.
He said involvement in those groups led to his leadership and public-speaking skills. "Having to work with the other officers, you learn a lot about working in groups and interacting with other people," he said. "You also learn networking and making contacts that will help you in the real world."
Stokes was presented the award at two separate banquets. First, visiting Assistant Professor of Accounting Robert Milbrath gave him the award at a Beta Alpha Psi banquet held in April.
He was then presented with the same plaque at a TSCPA banquet at the Marriott West Loop hotel. "I was honored to be receiving the award by accountants who represent the national body of CPAs in Texas," he said.
Stokes was recognized for his achievement in the TSCPA magazine with his name, picture and school listed. In addition, he had his name engraved on a plaque in the UH accounting department. The plaque contains the names of all the winners from UH since the beginning of the awards.
After completing his last course at UH by the end of the summer, Stokes will begin working at the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen in September and will sit for his CPA exam in November.
He believes his plans are all coming together after having married his fiancee one week after walking in the May commencement exercises.
"When you are in college, you always worry about the future," he said.
"Knowing that the things that I have been working hard for so long are complete is such a relief. It is all very exciting."