Alumnus of Achievement John W. Harrison enjoys community involvement

John W. Harrison

John W. Harrison

Michael Mercier | UAH

"At the age of 69 I am ever more grateful for the opportunity in my life to attend UAH as a student, teach there as a faculty member and serve for 20 years on the Alumni Board," says Huntsville attorney John W. Harrison (’71, History, BA), who is one of four Alumni of Achievement being honored by the University of Alabama in Huntsville Alumni Association.

"I am deeply honored by, and appreciative of, this recognition by the Alumni Association."

The free awards presentation will be Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Room 112 of the Student Services Building. Attendees may RSVP at Questions may be emailed to

Harrison’s law firm is well established in Huntsville. He opened the first racially integrated law firm in the city along with a law partner, James Smith, another former UAH Student Body president.

"I have practiced law for 40 years, primarily now in deceased estates, probate, real estate, business and corporate areas," he says. "It was a great honor to be elected President of the Huntsville Madison County Bar Association in 2015."

Getting involved has been a hallmark of his life. In addition to the Bar Association’s presidency, he serves as president of the East Huntsville Madison County Civic Association.

Harrison has served as the president of the North Alabama Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, president of the UAH Alumni Association and president of the Small Business Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, in addition to serving as an officer or board member for numerous other civic, sports and arts organizations, including the Huntsville-Madison County Botanical Garden Society and the Huntsville-Madison County Art League.

"I have consistently been involved in community, civic, sports and political activities throughout my life," Harrison says. "These activities have made life immensely richer and more satisfying."

While he was a Sparkman High School student, Harrison received the Huntsville Foundation Scholarship to attend UAH. "UAH had a reputation for excellent faculty and high standards. The history, English and political science faculty demanded reflective thought, critical analysis and high levels of writing and composition skills," Harrison says.

"The university also allowed me as a student to be involved in a wide range of activities, which taught me critical skills in management, law, politics and community affairs."

While a student, Harrison’s activities included being president and vice president of the Student Government Association, chairman and founder of UAH’s first Symposium and Lecture Series, chairman of the University Judicial Code Committee, president of the History Club, and chairman and founder of The In, UAH’s first coffee and sandwich shop. Post-graduation, he served as an assistant professor at UAH, teaching in the School of Administrative Science’s graduate program.


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