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Lowell T. Harmison

Lowell T. Harmison (‘60 BS, ‘61 MS)

Lowell T. Harmison received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1960 and his master’s degree from the University in 1961. He received his doctorate from the University of Maryland in 1965 and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan in 1966.He graduated from the Federal Executive Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Senior Executive Program of the Sloan School of Management in 1973 and 1985, respectively. He received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in 1990.Harmison served as the chief operating officer for the Maxwell Foundation, one of the largest private, independent philanthropic research organizations in the world. It was established by the late publisher Robert Maxwell. Harmison was involved with several key leaders of domestic and foreign universities, industries and governments.He followed a career in health sciences, pioneered an artificial heart and is internationally recognized for his research, government service and humanitarian achievements. He was a trained engineer, a physicist and a biophysicist.From 1986-87, he was deputy assistant secretary for health of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), helping direct the PHS, whose divisions include the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Alcohol, Drug, Abuse and Mental Health Administration; the Centers for Disease Control; the Health Resources and Mental Health Administration; and the Agency for toxic substances issues; drug and vaccine research development activities; and biotechnology transfer.He directed the PHS team that translated the laboratory test for the AIDS virus antibody into and FDA approved and commercially available screening test for the American and foreign blood supply. He is a member of the PHS Executive Task Force on AIDS, which serves as a major coordinating and focal point for all PHS AIDS activities. He has worked with the public-private sector to develop a vaccine against AIDS.From 1967-74 Harmison was a scientist and division director at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH. He developed and tested the first completely implantable device to augment the function of a diseased heart and the totally implantable artificial heart, for which he holds the first U.S. and foreign patents.He was a member of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni of Mechanical Engineering, a member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service and many professional and honorary societies. He has been the recipient of numerous achievement awards and serves on many select governmental and intergovernmental committees.Mr. Harmison passed away in 2011.