The Chancellor’s Award for Service to WSU Vancouver is given at the discretion of the chancellor to recognize and salute selfless dedication and commitment to the WSU Vancouver community. The award honors an individual who expresses that commitment through participation in campus activities, leadership on behalf of WSU Vancouver and dedication of time, talent and resources toward advancing the university’s mission.
WSU Pullman ‘80, Hoffman Construction
The mark Dan Harmon has left on Washington State University Vancouver is visible in several prominent buildings on campus and apparent in the lives of countless students who have graduated and gone on to fulfilling careers in the community. Many students might not have been able to complete their degrees without the scholarships Dan and his wife, Kathy, have endowed.
One of three owners of Hoffman Construction, Harmon has been instrumental in the company’s work to construct significant buildings on the campus (the Student Services Center, Firstenburg Student Commons and the Engineering and Computer Science Building). And when founding Chancellor Hal Dengerink retired, Harmon arranged for a permanent building sign to be placed in time for Dengerink to see it before he died.
Among many generous gifts to WSU, Dan and Kathy Harmon have endowed 10 scholarships for WSU Vancouver students. The first was a scholarship for business students endowed in the name of Glenn Terrell, president of WSU when Dan was a student. Dan credits Terrell for his ultimate success in business, because Terrell wrote a letter of support for Dan’s admission to Lewis & Clark School of Law. The Harmons now have fully endowed a scholarship in Terrell’s name for each college at WSU Vancouver, plus one for diversity and one for undergraduate students.
Later, noticing the number of students having to drop out of school because they had exhausted all of their financial resources and couldn’t afford to stay enrolled, the Harmons invested to start the Second Chance Scholarship, and then matched dollar for dollar each contribution at the 25th Anniversary dinner in 2014 to endow the scholarship at more than $135,000. These scholarships go to students who are close to finishing their degrees but don’t have the money to stay in school.
In recognition of their exceptional generosity to Washington State University, including their gifts to WSU Vancouver, Dan and Kathy Harmon have been recognized as Legacy donors. In addition, WSU Vancouver is one of three areas that are priorities for the Harmons’ estate gift to support.
Dan Harmon joined Hoffman Construction in 1980, right after graduating from WSU Pullman in construction management, and attended law school in the evening. Twenty-five years ago, he and two partners became the company’s principal owners. He first became engaged with WSU Vancouver when he joined the Business Advisory Board. He later chaired the board. Harmon also served on the WSU Foundation and its Board of Governors. His leadership is
a significant reason why WSU exceeded its $1 billion fundraising goal.
Harmon, who was a first-generation college student himself, is a fierce believer in education as a life-changing force. He takes the time to meet with students, to learn what they are facing and to encourage them in their educational process.
He recalled his personal struggle to get through college and law school by piecing together scholarships, work study and summer jobs. “Education is the very best thing you can give a person,” Harmon said. “I am happy to be able to pay it forward.”