From a small employment service, to a business school, to a seven-campus career-focused education school, the history of the Harris School of Business began with one woman
Have you ever wondered why we are called the Harris School of Business? The school is named for its founder, Ms. Ethel S. Harris, a woman who led an inspirational life.
When Ms. Harris was 37 years old in 1957, her husband, Dr. Arnold Harris, passed away, leaving her with three children to raise on her own. In reflecting on her own need for a strong career to support her family, she took a great leap and opened her own business in 1959—an employment service dedicated to helping people get connected with job opportunities.
Her business was not an instant success. It took a lot of work, and a lot of patience, and she had to supplement her earnings with odd jobs. But through perseverance, the business grew. By 1965, the business had expanded to include job training programs, which was the start of the Harris School of Business as we know it today. By 1978, Harris School had achieved accreditation. Over the years, Harris has grown from its original single location in Cherry Hill to include a total of seven campuses.
“I have heard that as a business woman, Ethel Harris was very inspirational, particularly for women who are raising children on their own,” said April Lupinacci, campus director of the Cherry Hill branch of Harris School. “She was an entrepreneur, and was a great role model for all of the students at Harris School.”
In 1993, at the age of 73, Ms. Harris passed away. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, shortly before her death, Ms. Harris was recognized by the Camden County Commission on Women as one of the “Women Who Have Made a Difference in the Field of Business.” Her daughter, Barbara Harris-Miles of Cherry Hill, NJ, is still involved with the school, and has spoken at graduations.
In addition to her work with the Harris School, Ms. Harris was very involved in the South Jersey community. She participated in a range of community organizations, including Girls on the Move in Camden, the Cherry Hill Kiwanis, the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the American Cancer Society, and the Haddon Township chapter of the National Kidney Foundation, to name a few.
Thinking back to what Ms. Harris began as a single mom over 50 years ago, it is remarkable to see the fruits of her efforts still going strong today! From medical billing training and medical assisting programs to dental assistant training and massage therapy courses, Harris offers an array of career paths that have grown from Harris’s early days as a business school. If you are interested in learning more about the offerings of the Harris School of Business, call us at 1-800-510-7920.