Alumnus named first Black man to chair the world’s largest association representing the accounting profession

Author: SF State Strategic Marketing and Communications
June 20, 2023
Okorie L. Ramsey
Photo Credit: Okorie L. Ramsey

(The original news story appeared on the SF State News website.)

In its 136-year history, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has had 110 chairs. Until this spring, only one of them had been Black, and none had been a Black male.

Now that’s changed thanks to San Francisco State University alumnus Okorie L. Ramsey (B.S., ’92): Ramsey has been named AICPA chair as well as the chair of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association). The organizations he now chairs represent nearly 700,000 members in 196 countries and territories.

San Francisco State Professor of Accounting Theresa Hammond, an expert on diversity in the accounting field, says Ramsey will lead AICPA and its members to greater Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) within the profession.

“Despite the fact that African Americans are 13% of the population, the percentage of CPAs who are Black stubbornly persists at less than 2%,” she said. “The AICPA did not admit its first Black member until 1942, and did not take a stand against discrimination until 1969. Okorie’s leadership in the AICPA illustrates how far the AICPA has come while also identifying the opportunity and work still needed to create a more inclusive profession.”

A native of Berkeley, California, Ramsey came to SF State to study business in 1988. He graduated in 1992 with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. He later returned to the University to serve as an adjunct professor for two years, teaching graduate students about leadership, ethics and management.

“My education and collegiate experience at San Francisco State was foundational and instrumental in my career,” Ramsey said. “San Francisco State provided me with a strong education and exposure to campus organizations, including the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Accounting Students Organization (ASO) and Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), and I served as an officer in all three organizations. At San Francisco State I learned critical skills such as business writing and speech in addition to my core accounting and business courses.”

Read the rest of this news story on the SF State News website.