Authors //
John H. Harrison
Vice President for High Performance Computing
North Carolina Supercomputing Center

Harrison attended the University of Texas at Austin where he received his BS degree in chemistry. After graduation he served in The United States Marine Corps and rose to the rank of captain before returning to Austin to pursue his PhD degree in chemistry as a National Institutes of Health pre-doctoral fellow. Upon receiving that degree, he continued his education while studying as a post doctoral fellow (Jane Coffin Childs Fellow in Medical Research) at Harvard Medical School.

In 1967, Harrison was appointed as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shortly thereafter he was asked to become a full member of the Department of Biology. He rose to the rank of professor in both departments. As part of his NIH Career Development Award, Harrison spent a research leave as a visiting scientist at Oxford University in 1978.

In January 1985, Harrison was appointed associate provost at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His duties included responsibility for all academic computing on the campus. The Academic Computation Services, The Microcomputing Services Center, The Office of Data and Video Communications, and The Classroom Technologies Service Center all reported to his office. Harrison also served as a member of the task force appointed by the governor of North Carolina concerned with the establishment of a supercomputer center which led to the establishment of the North Carolina Supercomputer Center. Among his other duties he chaired the Technical Advisory Committee of that Center from 1993-96. In 1990 Harrison retired from the University and joined Glaxo Inc. to reorganize and improve the interface between Discovery Research and Information Technology (Computing) at Glaxo.

In June of 1993, Harrison returned to the University of North Carolina General Administration to fill the newly created position of associate vice president for Academic Affairs. His responsibilities included coordinating networking, telecommunications, and computation between the 16 Universities of the System. He represented the University System to the Information Resources Management Commission of the NC State Government and served as a member of the Steering Group of the North Carolina Information Highway. His latest assignment was as a member of the School Technology Commission which was directed by the NC State Legislature to develop a plan for the utilization of technology by all public schools in North Carolina.

In 1996 Harrison became a Microsoft Scholar and as such serves on the Higher Educational Advisory Board for that Corporation. At present he also serves as a member of the Editorial Board for the journal of Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry.

In March of 1997 Harrison retired from UNC and accepted a position with MCNC of Research Triangle Park, NC and is presently vice president for High Performance Computing in that organization.

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// Technology Source Articles
  • A Perspective on Technology in Higher Education: An Interview with John Harrison
    // Commentary, March 1998