Thursday, May 22, 2008

Russell Library Awarded Grant from the Harrison Foundation

In the summer of 2007, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies was awarded a grant for $150,000 from the Luther and Susie Harrison Foundation, which was founded by R. Harold Harrison (BSA `41) in memory of his mother and father.

R. Harold Harrison was born April 29, 1920. He worked to put himself through school at the University of Georgia and graduated with a BSA in Agricultural Economics only to receive a blank piece of paper because he didn’t have the $5 required to have a diploma printed.

After a stint in the army, Mr. Harrison taught in the Veteran’s Farm Training program. It was during this time he became interested in the poultry industry and bought his first batch of broilers. In 1951 he gave up his teaching job and devoted himself full time to growing his poultry business, which became extremely successful. In 1954 he sold most of his chicks and began hiring other poultry farmers to raise the chickens that they would then send to his processing plant -- a process called contract growing. Over the years, Mr. Harrison continued to modernize his poultry operation and today Harrison Poultry employs approximately 600 people and has made a significant impact on the economy of north Georgia.

In addition to his business acumen, Mr. Harrison was always active in the community, participating in numerous civic, political, and religious activities. He served on the Barrow County Board of Education for 25 years and represented Gwinnett, Barrow, Jackson and Banks counties as a State Senator for a number of years.

During the course of his life, Harold Harrison worked hard to better the community and the state in which he lived. Today, his legacy of giving lives on in the Foundation’s grant to the Russell Library. In recognition of this gift, the Russell Library will designate a gallery in the new Special Collections Libraries Building as the Harrison Family Gallery. The Harrison Family Gallery will represent the Luther and Susie Harrison family’s strong commitment to public education and its support for the research and instruction mission of the University of Georgia and its Libraries. This gallery will honor the family’s admiration for the distinguished political careers of Senator Russell and other Georgians and will also serve as a distinctive recognition of Harold Harrison’s friendship and association with Senator Richard B. Russell and their work to foster rural development in Georgia through support for the poultry industry.

Published in Beyond the Pages, Volume 7, Spring 2008

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