LaVerne Harmon

President, Wilmington University

Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography

Seeing students’ lives change through the education and opportunity they receive at Wilmington University is one of Harmon’s biggest successes. “That’s what I live for,” she says.

Harmon took on the role of Wilmington University’s fourth president in July 2017. She is the first black woman to be named president of a university or college in Delaware. Much of Harmon’s education and career occurred at Wilmington University. While receiving her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she took on a variety of roles at the university. And while earning her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, she continued working for Wilmington University.

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Harmon says the biggest draw at the university is its mission. Being the most affordable college in the region and fourth most affordable in the country, the fact that the school offers accessible education is important to Harmon. “The idea is to provide opportunities,” she says.

Harmon’s first mentor was her mother. “[She] gave me the foundation to believe in myself,” Harmon says. Her mother’s sage advice to give everyone an equal playing field has helped carry Harmon a long way in leadership roles. She tells young women who want to pursue educational administration that leadership takes courage, and success comes from three things: Doing right, making tough decisions and being honest.

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