Tom Lawless ’90

Partner in Ernst and Young’s Financial Services Office

Even as an undergraduate student, Tom Lawless ’90 knew that his experiences at Montclair State University were something special, not to be taken for granted. Among the first generation in his family to attend college, Lawless entered Montclair state with a passion for business and a goal to earn a business degree. Originally he majored in finance but quickly switched to accounting and is today a partner in Ernst and Young’s financial services office. As such, Lawless leads the process and controls practice, which provides clients with internal audit assistance, risk and controls improvement as well as assistance with other related initiatives.

Lawless has many fond memories from his time at Montclair State. A fraternity brother of TKE and a member of the Accounting Society, he found himself involved in many circles of campus life but always remained focused on achieving his goal.

“I didn’t treat Montclair like a commuter school. Although I was focused on getting in and getting out, I took advantage of the opportunities that became available to me,” says Lawless.

As a member of the Accounting Society, he remembers the large accounting firms’ representatives having an active presence with students on campus and he wants to continue to keep that relationship alive. Lawless has returned to campus numerous times and says he continues to be impressed with the campus and its student body. In 2013, he spoke to the student Accounting Society about his own experience at Montclair State, the value of his degree, and the importance of networking. He serves on the Accounting, Law and Taxation Department Advisory Board and also spoke at the second annual Accounting Reception in May, 2014, an event that brings together accounting students, alumni and faculty for a networking opportunity.

“When I graduated, I was competing against graduates from New York University and Columbia University, but Montclair State gave me an education that allowed me to compete,” he says.

Last year Lawless returned to campus to help honor Irene Douma, an accounting, law and taxation professor who retired after 40 years of teaching at the University. Lawless and other alumni came together to raise money for the event and to pay tribute to a professor who had had a tremendous influence on their lives and careers.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary since Lawless graduated from Montclair State, and he is excited to take part in a 25th reunion celebration scheduled to take place in June 2015. He will serve as chair of the 25th Reunion Alumni Leadership Committee and will help bring classmates back to a campus that’s changed significantly since 1990.
“Montclair State has played such an important role in my life, from offering me networking opportunities as a student, to allowing me to now pay it forward and give current students the same opportunities I was once given,” he said. “I’m excited to build upon the connection I’ve formed with the University and hope that my classmates will join me in celebrating our time spent here.”