Costel ‘Cos’ Denson ’56 ’15H, a widely respected expert in polymer engineering and fluid mechanics and a true Lehigh pioneer who would become the first African-American to graduate from the university, passed away on April 23, 2018. He was 83.

Denson was born in Aliquippa, Pa., and in high school demonstrated great skill in academics, leadership and athletics as an honor student, class president and running back for the school’s championship football team. He applied for admission at several top schools, but was ultimately drawn to Lehigh in large part due to the Dravo scholarship program, which would cover his tuition, room and board.

During his time at Lehigh, Denson was captain of the fencing team and a member of the track and field team. He would also excel in the classroom, crediting one of his professors, Alan Foust of the department of chemical engineering, with encouraging him to push for academic success even as he was confronted with the social challenges that inevitably came along with being at the time the only African-American student on campus.

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.