The University Record, May 6, 1998

Walt Harrison named president of University of Hartford

From the University of Hartford and
U-M Office of University Relations

HarrisonWalter Harrison, vice president for university relations and secretary of the University, will become the fifth president of the University of Hartford (Conn.) on July 1.

His appointment to the post was announced April 30 by Peter Eio, chair of Hartford's presidential search committee and vice chair of its Board of Regents.

"We believe Walter Harrison has the vision, energy and charisma necessary to lead our institution and to generate support and enthusiasm from the faculty, staff and students," Eio said.

The University of Hartford, an independent institution that celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1997, offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs for more than 7,000 students.

Harrison's selection marks the successful culmination of an intensive seven-month process. "It became clear during the in-depth interviews and campus visits that Walt was the clear front-runner amongst all our constituencies," Eio said. "We believe he will be a major asset to the university in terms of fund-raising, whilst at the same time working with the provost, deans and faculty to advance the academic status of our institution."

"The University of Hartford has made an outstanding choice in Walt Harrison as their fifth president," said President Lee C. Bollinger. "Walt has every capacity they can possibly need and a great sense of humor to get them through periods when no one, not even Walt, will be able to make things better. Walt's love of the arts and his practical instincts are a superb combination. We all wish him well."

Recalling the words of Lou Gehrig, Harrison told the Record that he feels "like the luckiest man on the earth. I have a long and passionate love affair with the University of Michigan. It's going to be difficult for me to leave.

"The friends and colleagues I've worked with the last nine years mean a great deal to me. We had good times and bad times together. It's been a great experience." Citing his lifetime membership in the Alumni Association, Harrison said he'd retain his U-M connections. "The first song I learned was 'The Victors.'

"This is a bittersweet moment. The future is very bright for the University of Hartford, and I'm happy to be a part of that. It's sad to be leaving a great university and warm friends."

Harrison's selection as Hartford's president marks a homecoming of sorts. He received his bachelor's degree from Trinity College in 1968, before going on to earn a master's degree in English from the U-M in 1969 and a doctorate in English from the University of California, Davis, in 1980.

Prior to joining the U-M, Harrison was president of Gehrung Associates, a national media relations consulting firm for colleges and universities, with offices in Keene, N.H.; Athens, Ga.; and Washington, D.C.