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Appalachian dedicates Katherine Harper Hall, recognizes $1 million gift

harper73_t.jpgBOONE—Appalachian State University has named a portion of the building that houses the Department of Technology in honor of Katherine Harper of Charlotte.

Katherine Harper is co-founder of Harper Corporation of America and longtime supporter of flexography education. Mrs. Harper’s husband, Ron, made a $1 million gift to the university in her honor through the Appalachian State University Foundation.

“For 55 years, Katherine has been my wife, my best friend and my business partner,” said Mr. Harper. “I can think of no better way to honor her than to dedicate this building for her. This is truly another of our dreams come true; to feel such an integral part of this wonderful university. We have certainly made some lifetime friends here at Appalachian during the past 15 years.”

Katherine Harper Hall, located at 397 Rivers Street, houses the majority of the Department of Technology’s academic programs and administrative offices.

The gift will provide $300,000 to purchase and upgrade flexographic-related equipment and $100,000 will establish the Katherine Harper Scholarship Endowment to provide scholarships for Harper Corporation employees or their children who want to pursue a degree at Appalachian.

A total of $400,000 will be used to purchase equipment and upgrade materials in all of the programs located in the Department of Technology, and $200,000 will establish the Katherine Harper Endowment for the Department of Technology to fund emerging technological needs and priorities identified by the faculty and department leaders.

“This is a wonderful gift to the Department of Technology,” said Dr. J. Mark Estepp, dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts in which the department is based. “We have been blessed by having people like the Harpers who ensure that the Department of Technology receives only the best when it comes to equipment or support of student scholarships and faculty development. Their generosity has been incredible.”

The Harpers are the founders of global anilox supplier Harper Corporation of America.

Harper Corporation has manufacturing facilities in Charlotte and Green Bay, Wis., as well as licensee operations in Bangkok, Thailand, and Herford, Germany. The Harpers have been deeply involved in education and training of future flexographers at the high school and college levels.

Appalachian’s flexography program, part of the Thomas W. Reese Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology program, is housed in the Department of Technology.

The department also houses an appropriate technology program that focuses on alternative energy, interior design, industrial design and furniture industries programs, technical photography and technology education, and the Harper Flexographic Museum, which highlights a chronological history of the flexography, a method for printing flexible packaging, including retail and shopping bags, food and hygiene bags and sacks, flexible plastics, self adhesive labels and wallpaper.

For more information, visit or contact Jodi (Wright) Hartley, communication director for the College of Fine and Applied Arts, at (828) 262-7249 or


Photo caption: Some husbands give their wives flowers, jewelry or candy to express their affection. Ron Harper of Charlotte made a $1 million gift in honor of his wife, Katherine Harper, to support scholarships, flexography education and technology needs in Appalachian State University’s Department of Technology. The university has named the building that houses the department in her honor. (Appalachian photo by University Photographer Mike Rominger)