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Alumnus’ new endowment fund and named space in Peacock Hall honor information systems professor

By Haley Childers

BOONE, N.C.—A new endowment fund and meeting and networking space at Appalachian State University have been established to honor Dr. Albert L. Harris, a longtime professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems and Supply Chain Management in the Walker College of Business (WCOB).

View larger imagePictured during an Oct. 5 reception for the Al Harris Fund for Excellence Endowment are, from left, Jackie Harris, Computer Information Systems Professor Emeritus Al Harris, Sequoia Holdings CEO T. Richard Stroupe, Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts, and Walker College of Business Dean Heather Norris.

The new fund and conference room honor Harris’ 28 years of outstanding service to the university and its students. The meeting space is in Peacock Hall, which houses classrooms for the WCOB.

Harris, who retired in July, was known on campus for his dynamic personality and active engagement with students, especially through his work in providing students with international opportunities, said WCOB Dean Heather Norris.

Harris said his dedication to creating globally minded citizens stems from his belief that international experience is important to development. During his time at Appalachian, he led dozens of study abroad trips, creating transformational educational experiences for hundreds of Appalachian students.

The naming of the Harris Conference Room was made possible through a major contribution from T. Richard Stroupe Jr. ’98 and his wife, Christina D. Stroupe.

“For an alumnus to come back to campus to honor a professor in such a significant way demonstrates the transformational nature of the Appalachian experience,” said Norris. “Our faculty members are dedicated to high-quality teaching and learning. The impact they have through their engagement with students is, in many ways, lifelong.”

“Dr. Harris’ leadership and contributions to his students went beyond the classroom,” said T. Richard Stroupe. “We are truly honored to have the opportunity to recognize Dr. Harris for his many years of service to Appalachian and the direct impact he has had on our lives.”

Stroupe is an entrepreneur, investor and advisor based in Washington, D.C. He currently serves as co-founder and CEO of Sequoia Holdings Inc., a leading provider of engineering and analytic solutions to the U.S. National Security sector, and CEO of TAOS Capital, a private investment company focusing on small to mid-market growth investment opportunities. Previously he served as founder and CEO of TRS Consulting Inc., a provider of software development services to the U.S. Intelligence Community, and as part-time faculty at The George Washington University (GW).

After earning a B.S.B.A. in computer information systems from Appalachian, Stroupe earned his master’s in engineering management from GW, and — as a believer in lifelong learning — he has completed coursework at Harvard Business School and The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

In 2015, Harris received the WCOB’s Lifetime Achievement Award for devoting his career to international opportunities. He traveled to Portugal in 2006 and then Poland in 2016 as a Fulbright scholar and, throughout his career, served as visiting faculty around the world.

Harris and his wife, Jackie, also supported student travel through The Al and Jackie Harris Study Abroad Scholarship.

“Traveling takes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you to adapt, allowing you to see how people all over the world are different, yet the same,” said Harris.

The Harris Conference Room seats 20 and is located on the second floor of Peacock Hall. It is newly marked by a plaque to honor Harris’ work at Appalachian.

The earnings from the Al Harris Fund for Excellence Endowment will support information systems and supply chain student scholarships for international travel as well as veteran student scholarships and enhancement of global and civic engagement.

The naming was celebrated Oct. 5 with a small reception including the Harrises and a few select students and colleagues.

About the Walker College of Business

The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling nearly 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and nearly 175 graduate students, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at http://business.appstate.edu

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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