Horatio Alger Award Winner To Visit Baylor Jan. 20-21Jan. 12, 1998
by Alan Hunt
Tom Harken, a high school dropout who went on to become one of the nation's most successful entrepreneurs and winner of the coveted Horatio Alger Award, will visit the Baylor University campus Jan. 20-21 to talk to students and local community leaders.
Harken's visit will mark the inauguration of a lecture series celebrating the 75th anniversary of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. The Hankamer Diamond Jubilee Distinguished Speaker Series will feature a number of high-profile personalities from the world of business and commerce in the coming months.
Harken and his wife, Melba, will be the guests of honor at a dinner hosted by Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 20.
The following day, Harken will speak to students at both sessions of Chapel Forum (10 a.m. and 11 a.m.) in Waco Hall. Later, he will attend a noon luncheon on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center with community leaders in the fields of business, religion, education and civic affairs. At 2 p.m., Harken will speak to entrepreneurship students on the topic "Managing Family Business" at the Blume Conference Center at Hankamer.
A highly inspirational speaker, Harken's "rags-to-riches" story has been enjoyed by more than 600 audiences numbering in the tens of thousands. Harken suffered from polio and tuberculosis at an early age, and due to family hardship he was forced to drop out of school. He says these setbacks made him even more determined to succeed, and he quickly progressed from the job he held in 1962 as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman to his present position as founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Tom Harken and Associates based in Beaumont. He is the owner of a growing chain of Mexican restaurants in the Golden Triangle area of Texas.
In 1992, Harken was one of only 10 Americans selected as recipients of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, presented in Washington, D.C. Other recipients of the award that year included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The Horatio Alger Award is named after a
19th century American clergyman who wrote boys' stories that emphasized success through hard work. The award is presented annually to individuals who have overcome adversity and have succeeded through perseverance.
Harken travels extensively throughout the nation, promoting literacy and educational achievement. He was featured in a Parade magazine profile on May 5, 1996, the same day he made his third appearance on Dr. Robert Schuller's "Hour of Power" television program.
For more information about the business school's anniversary program, call the office of communications at Hankamer at 710-3495.