Harvey Ralph Durham, Ph.D.



Dr. Richard D. Howe, “Harvey Ralph Durham, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 15, 2024, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/47994.

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Harvey Ralph Durham, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Richard D. Howe




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage


Temporal Coverage



Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Sciences and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Emeritus for Academic Affairs Harvey Durham was born (February 25, 1938-) in Perry, Florida, but grew up in Thomasville, Georgia. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Wake Forest University in 1959 and went on to attain master's and doctor's degrees in mathematics from the University of Georgia in 1962 and 1965, respectively. In 1963, Dr. Durham married the former Susan Brooks Stephens of Thomasville, Georgia. Born in Abbeville, South Carolina, in 1943, she is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Susan is an active member of the Boone community and serves on the Foundation Board of the Watauga Medical Center. The Durhams have three sons: William Harvey Durham (Bill) born in 1967, Stephen Bryan Durham (Bryan) born in 1968, and David Logan Durham (David) born in 1970. Bill, a certified public accountant living in Raleigh, received his B.S.B.A. and M.S.A. degrees from Appalachian State University. Bill's wife, Carolyn, received her B.S. degree from Appalachian State also. Bryan, an emergency room physician living in Wilmington, received his B.S. degree from Wake Forest University and his M.D. degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Bryan's wife, Carol Anne, received her B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. David, a business man living in Charlotte, received his B.S.B.A. degree from Appalachian State. The Durhams have four grandchildren: Eliza Grace (born in 2001), Noah Brooks (born in 2002), David Edwin (born in 2005) and William Lane (born in 2005). A faculty member his entire professional career, Dr. Durham was named the University's interim chancellor on June 11, 2003, and continued in that position until June 30, 2004. Durham began his Appalachian State career in 1965 as an assistant professor of mathematics. Two years later, he became chair and associate professor of the Department of Mathematics, before being promoted to professor and selected as associate dean of the faculty in 1971. From 1974 to 1979, Durham served as the associate vice chancellor of academic affairs and was the acting vice chancellor for academic affairs during the 1979-80 school year. He took on the duties of vice chancellor for academic affairs on a permanent basis in 1980 and continued as the university's chief academic officer until July 1, 2003. In 1989, he was promoted to provost of the university and in 1998 became Appalachian's executive vice chancellor. With the beginning of the 2003-04 academic year, Durham began his seventh year of teaching in Appalachian's Freshman Seminar Program. He was presented the J. Gordon Lindsay, Jr. Award in 2001 for his contributions to Appalachian State's Freshman Seminar Program. He continued to serve as professor of mathematics his entire administrative career. Durham announced his retirement from the university in June 2002 which was to become effective July 1, 2003. However, he agreed to delay his retirement and serve as Appalachian's chief executive officer on an interim basis while the university searched for its sixth chancellor. An active member of the Boone community during his forty-three years in the High Country, Durham served as chair of the High Country United Way and the Watauga County High School Advisory Council. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Watauga Community Foundation and was a member of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce from 1977 until his retirement in 2004. Durham also worked with the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Department as a youth league baseball coach for eight years. In service to the State of North Carolina, Durham served on the State Goals and Policy Board and the Commission on the Future of North Carolina. For his duty to the State of North Carolina, Governor James Hunt awarded Durham with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1980. This honor is the highest bestowed upon a civilian by the state of North Carolina. Durham is also an active member of the academic community, as he has held memberships in the American Association of Higher Education, the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Universities, the American Mathematical Society and the North Carolina Academy of Sciences. Dr. Durham has been actively involved with the American Council on Education Fellows. He was selected by the American Council on Education (ACE) to participate as an ACE Fellow in its Academic Administration Internship Program. He chose to do his internship during the 1969-70 year at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Also, he has been a state panelist with the Women Administrators in North Carolina Higher Education. He is associated with numerous leadership and academic honor societies, including Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Beta Delta, Omicron Delta Kappa, Kappa Mu Epsilon, and Pi Mu Epsilon. In 1981, Durham and former Chancellor John Thomas traveled to the People's Republic of China (PRC) to establish Appalachian's first international exchange agreement with North East University, located in Shenyang, China. Since that time, almost forty international agreements have been established. To promote Appalachian's interests in faculty and student exchange programs, Durham has traveled to England, France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Mexico, and Costa Rica, in addition to his numerous trips to the PRC. In 2002, following many years of service as a member of the First Citizens Bank Board of Directors for Watauga and Avery Counties, Durham was appointed Director Emeritus. In 2003, the University presented Durham with the Plemmons Leadership Medallion in recognition of his contributions to student life at Appalachian State. During his final year at Appalachian, Durham received several recognitions. Appalachian's park was designated Durham Park in recognition of the thirty-nine years of service Durham and his wife gave to Appalachian. He was recognized by the United States Army with a special commendation, the Commander's Award for Public Service, and with a medal for his support and advancement of Appalachian's R.O.T.C. unit since its establishment in 1969. He was also presented with the Jack A. Branch Volunteer Award by Appalachian's Department of Athletics for his support of advancing Appalachian's athletics program. Additionally, Durham received a commendation from the State Employees Association of North Carolina, Inc. (SEANC) and SEANC District Three for his thirty-nine years of service at Appalachian State University and his contributions and support to SEANC. Upon his retirement from Appalachian on July 1, 2004, Durham was awarded the status of Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Emeritus. Following his retirement, Durham served as Chairman of the Capital Campaign Committee of the Watauga County Humane Society to raise funds for a new animal shelter. Presently, he also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. Sources: Appalachian State University files, personal correspondence, and long association. -Dr. Richard D. Howe

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