Mingo County Resident Receives Honorary Degree

For Immediate Release: 
May 19 2003

Mingo County Resident Receives Honorary Degree

Athens, W.Va. - On Saturday, May 17, Concord College awarded a Doctorate of Business Administration, honoris causa, to Mr. James H. “Buck” Harless, from Gilbert, W.Va.—one of West Virginia’s most distinguished and respected businessmen, and a Concord College benefactor.

No honorary degrees were bestowed prior to 1960 and this is the first honorary degree conferred by the College in 30 years.

In a press conference after the Commencement Ceremony, Mr. Harless stated that “I’ve had many teachers from Concord, I’ve always considered Concord a fine college.

“Currently, there are Concord teachers in our high school and primary schools.

“There is no doubt that my teachers helped me form my values. They were dedicated to their profession and had high moral integrity. My favorite subjects were history and math. My teachers told me early that math was very important.”

Hard work and dedication to your craft are important to Harless.

“To be successful, you must be willing to work,” Harless said. “The harder you work, the luckier you get,” he said. “It is important to be the best in your field.

“It is also important to be happy. Life is very difficult if you are not happy. If you are not happy at work, do something else.”

Regarding the honorary degree, Mr. Harless said, “You have to be invited and I was extremely happy to be invited to receive this honorary degree. The fact that it is the first in 30 years makes it very special.”

Mr. Harless also had advice for the state’s political leaders: “Do what is best for the state. Do I get frustrated? Yes, for all the missed opportunities. We put self interest ahead of what is good for the state.”