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John W. Harrelson

(Born June 28, 1885, died March 12, 1955)

John William Harrelson was born in Cleveland County, North Carollna, the son of a tenant farmer. He entered NC A & M (NC State) in 1905 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. He had an exceptional college career. He served as president of the senior class, president of the Mechanical Society, captain of the student military unit, class historian, business manager of the Agromeck, and valedictorian of the class of 1909. Harrelson paid his expenses by pressing the clothes of fellow classmates, working nights for 12 cents an hour, and turning out the campus lights each night at 11 pm.

After graduation he stayed on at the College as an instructor in the mathematics Department. By 1921 he had become a full professor. He was granted a leave of absence from State in 1929 to be Director of the State Department of Conservation and Development. He returned to North Carolina State in 1933 as Head of the Mathematics Department. However at the end of one year as Head of the Mathematics Department he was selected to be dean of administration (title changed to Chancellor in 1945). He took a leave of absence to serve as a Colonel in WWI, and was Deputy Chief of specialized training in WWII. Harrelson, known as "Colonel" by students and faculty, became college archivist when he retired. He left a $100,000 donation to NC State for art purchases and a lecture series