B.A., Denison University, 1956
M.B.A., University of Cincinnati, 1964
Citation awarded June, 2006
Joe Thomas is equally successful in his profession, in his civic endeavors, and in his devotion to his alma mater.
He is a highly respected voice in investing circles and served on The New York Stock Exchange Board of Directors. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Joe began his business career at McDonald & Company, a leading regional investment firm. He was named managing partner in 1971, senior partner in 1979. In 1983, with McDonald as an investor, he formed and served as president of American Asset Management, an investment advisory firm. AAM was sold in 1995. In 1999 Joe facilitated the start-up of Lakepoint Investment Partners and joined the company as senior portfolio manager.
Joe continues to be active in the Cleveland community. From 1983 to 2003, he was a trustee (now honorary) of Case Western Reserve University, serving two terms as chair of the investment committee. He is co-chair of Parkworks, an organization helping the city of Cleveland with tree planting, park and garden projects, and building inner-city playgrounds. He serves as trustee and chair of the investment committee for the Cleveland Institute of Music and University Circle, Inc., and serves on the retirement board of trustees of the Ohio Highway Patrol. Joe and Ellen have been honored by the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Ohio; they provide a yearly cash award for epilepsy research at the Cleveland Clinic.
Among his past Cleveland civic involvements, Joe served as a director of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association and trustee of the City Club, nationally recognized as “The Citadel of Free Speech.” He served as chair of St. Luke’s Hospital and was presented an Edward Myers outstanding trustee award. Following the sale of the hospital, Joe served as trustee and chair of the investment committee of the St. Luke’s Foundation until March 2006, when he was elected honorary trustee. The Foundation has grown to over $200 million and is a leading contributor to many area charitable organizations.
Joe’s work on behalf of Denison is legendary. His volunteer work through the years has left his imprint on Denison in both visual and unseen ways. He served on Denison’s Board of Trustees for 30 years, retiring to Life Trustee status in 2002. He is on the Campaign Executive Committee for the current Higher Ground Campaign and has been vital in identifying prospects, recruiting volunteers and soliciting donors. He chaired the National Prospect Identification Program that led to Denison’s capital campaign between 1988 and 1992.
We honor Joe Thomas for his whole-hearted devotion to his alma mater and the City of Cleveland, Ohio—and for the grace and integrity with which he has lived his life.