Hoping to inspire her students, in 1962 Harris took and passed the two-day examination to be a certified public accountant at a time when there were fewer than 100 African American CPAs in the nation. She became the first black woman in Virginia to be certified.
During her career Harris served on several state commissions and on local and national community and professional boards of directors. In 1977 she received her doctorate in education from the College of William and Mary. In 1998 Virginia Union awarded Harris with a Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of her many contributions to that institution and her field.
Ruth Coles Harris was the 2015 recipient of the VABPW Foundation Business Leadership Award.
Nominated by Maureen Cheatham, librarian at Matoaca High School, in Chesterfield County.
Reprinted with permission of the Library of Virginia.