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Alumni Feature 1

Edward G. Harness, Class of 1940


Edward Harness

Marietta native Edward G. Harness distinguished himself both in his business career and in his service to Marietta College. After graduating cum laude from Marietta College in1940, he joined Procter & Gamble, starting in the advertising department. His career was interrupted by a military leave of absence from 1942 to 1946, during which time he attained the rank of Major in the United States Air Force. In the executive ranks, he rose in Procter & Gamble from vice president of the paper products division in 1963 to president in 1971, and chairman of the board and C.E.O. in 1974. Harness stepped down as C.E.O. in 1981 to become chairman of the executive committee. Under Harness' leadership, Procter & Gamble's sales doubled and it became the world's largest manufacturer of consumer products.

Harness received many awards including a Distinguished American Award from the Marietta Chamber of Commerce, designation as a "Great Living Cincinnatian" by that city's Chamber, and Man of the Year by the Tau Pi Phi national business honorary. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Marietta College in 1972.

Harness served on the Marietta College Board of Trustees from 1961 until his death. As chairman of the board from 1975 to 1982, he is credited with directing the College through turbulent and financially threatening times, helping it to thrive rather than merely survive. Harness died in 1984, but is remembered through the Edward G. Harness Endowment which is awarded to Marietta College faculty in recognition of distinctive teaching achievement.