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HARLESS' LIFE SKETCH TO BE RELEASED BY UNIVERSITY PRESS; WVU PLANS SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO MINGO COUNTY BUSINESSMAN, PHILANTHROPIST

 HARLESS' LIFE SKETCH TO BE RELEASED BY UNIVERSITY PRESS; WVU PLANS SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO MINGO COUNTY BUSINESSMAN, PHILANTHROPIST
 MORGANTOWN, W.Va., April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- A tribute to Mingo County, W.Va., native, international businessman and philanthropist James H. (Buck) Harless, will be held Friday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m., at a special event in his hometown of Gilbert, W.Va., it was announced today.
 Open to friends, family, the people of Gilbert and the public in general, "West Virginia University's (WVU) Salute to Buck Harless" in the Gilbert High School Auditorium (reception to follow in the cafeteria) coincides with the soon-to-be-released Harless biography titled "Buck: A Life Sketch of James H. Harless."
 Penned by Ruel E. Foster, WVU Benedum professor emeritus of American literature, and WVU associate professor emeritus of marketing Robert B. Conner, the work is based on the oral testimony of several dozen people who knew Harless' parents and who knew Harless at various stages in his life -- from birth to present.
 Along with the authors, WVU President Neil S. Bucklew will present Harless with the first copy of the book at the Friday evening ceremony.
 Published by the University Press and scheduled for release in the next few weeks, the book's preface states "We offer this sketch as a kind of prolegomenon to all future biographies of Buck."
 Conner, who has spent a lifetime studying both professionally and privately the business life of this state, dubbed the Gilbert native "the most vital and intriguing entrepreneur in the business life of West Virginia during the past 30 years."
 Of the special occasion, Bucklew said, "This university tribute is a small way of saying 'thank-you' to the life and contributions of one of West Virginia's most extraordinary patrons -- especially as it relates to his commitment to West Virginia University and to higher education in general."
 He added, "Our intent in planning this event in Gilbert is to also honor the Harless family and the place and people that Buck so dearly loves."
 In addition to the debut of the book, Friday's event will feature entertainment by the WVU College of Creative Arts' Percussion Ensemble and Steel Drum Orchestra. (The groups will perform at the high school earlier that day.)
 Along with Bucklew, other WVU friends including WVU Foundation Inc. President James A. Robinson and head basketball coach Gale Catlett will be on hand.
 Frank Stevens, the voice of the WVU Mountaineer Marching Band, will serve as master of ceremonies, and two special announcements that will ultimately benefit southern West Virginia high school students are expected to be made.
 Harless, a special friend to WVU for many years, currently serves as Leadership Committee chairman to the WVU Foundation's capital campaign, a five-year effort to raise $102 million to support teaching, research and public service efforts of the university. Currently, the campaign has raised $78 million. The effort began in 1988 and will conclude in 1993.
 In addition, Harless helped establish Operation Strong Mountaineer, an outreach project that encourages high school students in his home county of Mingo as well as in the surrounding counties of Wyoming and McDowell to stay in school and to raise their aspirations through three components: strong families, summertime learning and youth mentors.
 Funded through the WVU Foundation and operated by the WVU Extension Service, the Harless-backed project also includes a mentoring program that encourages giving service back to youths of these regions in return for a full scholarship to WVU.
 His other WVU affiliations include, among others, serving as chairman of the WVU Board of Advisors, as a member of the College of Mineral and Energy Resources' Visiting Committee, and past chairman of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors.
 WVU honors and awards include receiving an honorary doctor of laws degree from WVU in 1981 denoting international prominence in his profession and induction in 1986 into the Order of Vandalia, WVU's highest honor for service to the institution.
 -0- 4/20/92
 /EDITORS: For a complimentary review copy of the Harless life sketch, please contact Ruth Jackson, director, University Press, 304-293-4040, after May 1./
 /CONTACT: Neil S. Bucklew, president of West Virginia University, 304-293-5531/ CO: West Virginia University ST: West Virginia IN: SU: PER


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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 20, 1992
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