John W. Harrelson

John W. Harrelson

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John W. Harrelson

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John William Harrelson (June 28, 1885 – March 13, 1955) was born in Double Shoals, Cleveland County, North Carolina, USA, on 28 June 1885. He was educated at North Carolina State University, where he earned a B.A. in engineering in 1909 and an M.S. in mechanical engineering in 1915. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering in 1954.

Harrelson became an instructor of mathematics at N.C. State in 1909, and later became a professor. During 1909 he also became a member of Freemasonry. He took a leave of absence from NCSU to serve as a Colonel during World War I. This led to his nickname of "Colonel." In 1929 he was appointed by Governor O. Max Gardner to head the State Department of Conservation and Development. He left the office in 1933 to head the Department of Mathematics at N.C. State.

Harrelson was a member of the local engineering fraternity Alpha Sigma Epsilon which became a chapter of Theta Tau in 1924. He was initiated as the second charter member of the new chapter. In 2003, Harrelson was posthumously inducted into the Theta Tau Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 1934 Harrelson was appointed as the first dean of administration at N.C. State; the school's sixth chief executive and the first alumnus to lead the school. His title was changed to chancellor in 1945. Harrelson was at the helm of the university during World War II and oversaw the establishment of the School of Design and the School of Forestry.

Harrelson retired from office in 1953...
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