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Chairman of the Board, Harlan Electric Company
Background information is taken from personal introduction, newspaper clippings and press release in University archive files. The press release "News from the University of Detroit" is dated January 19, 1968 which is well after the honorary degree was conferred. "In earlier days of American society, it was possible for gifted men to find multiple ways of expressing their talents and interests. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, could play the roles of printer and editor, of scientist and philosophy, of traveler and diplomat. Our present age of specialization tends to stifle such truly human development, but occasionally we still meet with myriad-minded men whose interest in human nature is so deep that nothing that pertains to their fellows can be an object of indifference to them. Such a man is C. Allen Harlan. The main listing of his interests and activities is bewildering. As every one knows, his is an eminently successful industrialist. As every one should know, he is the father of five sons and two daughters. He is an active leader and promoter in such diverse fields as seaway transportation, civic development, international understanding and cooperation, the welfare of youth, and the cause of education. Mr. Harlan is undeniably an exponent of "big business." He is none the less a fearless champion of the rights of the common man, and just as industry has few problems that he cannot solve by his wizardry with copper wire, so in the field of human relations there are few rifts that he cannot mend with the golden thread of his skillful diplomacy. It is his interest in education that brings him closest to the University of Detroit. Some years ago he became deeply concerned that so many young people were forced to interrupt their college education for economic reasons, and so he established and is financing a scholarship program in a number of public and independent schools. Another problem that has aroused his interest is Michigan's imminent dearth of college classrooms. He sees in Educational Television a partial solution, and he has taken a leading part in planning and financing the Educational Television Foundation of Detroit. It was only natural that he should have been elected president of this Foundation. Thanks to his special assistance the University of Detroit is able to take an effective part in this far-sighted program, and next September the University will inaugurate a full freshman curriculum to be televised over Channel 56." (Fr. Allan P. Farrell, S.J.) Mr. Harlan has served as a trustee of Michigan State University, Fisk University, and Hampton Institute. He is an executive member of the Boy Scouts of America, a board member of the Community Health Association, and the United Services Organization, a trustee of the National Jewish Hospital at Denver, and a Burton Mercy Hospital. Commencement, University of Detroit, June 13, 1957.