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Buckeyes helping Buckeyes

Prof. Marcelo Dapino celebrates receiving the 2014 Harrison Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering Education with Ahmet Selamet, chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Doris and Stan Harrison.(from left) Marcelo Dapino, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, celebrates receiving the 2014 Harrison Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering Education with Ahmet Selamet, chair and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Stan and Doris Harrison. Stan and Doris Harrison are Buckeyes who believe in people helping people.

Over the years the couple—who met and grew up in Gallia County, Ohio—have helped many from their home state.

After graduating with honors from The Ohio State University in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Harrison went on to become an innovator and leader in the rapidly changing field of electrical and computer engineering before beginning a second career in academia. 

Along the way, he continued his relationship with the College of Engineering and, in 1982, Stan and Doris established the Harrison Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering Education. 

The first endowment established in the college to recognize and reward faculty achievement, the award honors early- to mid-career faculty members in engineering or architecture for excellence in teaching, research or service to others.

“I found out there were many endowments for students, but nothing recognizing up-and-coming faculty,” Harrison said. “I was a young, up-and-coming professional in those days and one thing that turned out to be very important for me was people stopping and saying thanks for the things I was doing and giving me special recognition.”

The Harrison Faculty Award is presented annually with an accompanying stipend to one faculty member at the college’s Distinguished Faculty Awards event. More than 30 accomplished honorees have received the award to date, including Marcelo Dapino, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Jessica Winter, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering; and Fernando Teixeira, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“It’s amazing what these folks are doing, my gosh! I could sit all day and talk to them about the things that they’re doing, scientifically and engineering-wise,” Harrison explained. “These folks are very, very engaging people and they’re doing things that count and make a difference to the future.”

In recognition of his own achievements, Harrison was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1977 and received the College of Engineering’s highest honor, the Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal, in 1980. 

After retiring from his executive position as president and chief operating officer of Northern Virginia-based knowledge company BDM Corporation in 1988, Harrison contributed his leadership talents to several positions in higher education. 

He served as dean of the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business at Shenandoah University, chair of the Virginia Council of Higher Education and rector at George Mason University. He was also a trustee of McDaniel College, the University of Rio Grande and Shenandoah University.

The Harrisons may have left Ohio decades ago, but as Stan says, they never forgot where they’re from. 

In 2011, the longtime scholarship donors made a new commitment to support future Buckeye engineers. The Stan and Doris Ann Harrison Scholarship provides renewable scholarships for up to four years to engineering students from Gallia, Jackson and Meigs counties in southern Ohio. The scholarship currently supports three students, with their first recipient scheduled to graduate in 2015.

“Doris and I are both products of that area, so it’s sort of a payback. And, having that heritage, we try to never forget how we got to where we are,” said Harrison. “And Ohio State has been a very significant part of the things that we’ve been able to accomplish over the years.”

They like to think that someday those new Buckeyes will pay forward to the next generation.

“It’s our way of paying back and saying, ‘Hey, we’re out here and we can do this, so let us help you,” Harrison said. “And we hope folks will turn around and, when they’re capable someday, do it for others.”

Tags: Alumni, Giving