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Appalachian State University Announces the Dedication of Katherine Harper Hall

Published: 04.04.2007

Charlotte, N.C., April 4, 2007 - Appalachian State University's Board of Trustees today announced that the university has received a large financial gift from Ron Harper of Charlotte in honor of his wife, Katherine. The University will name the building housing the majority of the academic programs and administrative offices of its Department of Technology for Mrs. Harper.

A naming and dedication ceremony for Katherine Harper Hall will take place at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at 397 Rivers Street on the Appalachian campus.

The Harpers are the founders of global anilox supplier Harper Corporation of America. Anilox rolls are used in a printing method called "Flexography," typically used in printing packaging materials such as brown cardboard boxes, retail and shopping bags, food and hygiene bags and sacks, flexible plastics, self-adhesive labels and wallpaper.

"Not only are Ron and Katherine leaders in their chosen field, they are leaders in philanthropy at all levels of education," stated Dr. J. Mark Estepp, dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts. "Rarely have I seen a more giving spirit. They truly live the adage 'It is better to give than to receive.' Appalachian is honored by their friendship."

Harper Corporation has manufacturing facilities in Charlotte and Green Bay, Wisc., as well as licensee operations in Bangkok, Thailand, and Herford, Germany. The Harpers have been deeply involved in education and training future flexographers at the high school and college levels.

Appalachian State's flexography program, within its Thomas W. Reese Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology program, is housed in the Department of Technology which is part of the College of Fine and Applied Arts. The University also is home to the Harper Flexographic Museum, which highlights a chronological history of this unique printing process. In addition to graphic arts, the Department of Technology has programs in Appropriate Technology, Building Science, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Technical Photography and Technology Education.

The proceeds of the gift will be used for the flexography education program, university-wide student scholarships and other needs in the Department of Technology.

Besides Harper Corporation, Mrs. Harper has been a successful businesswoman and co-founder of several businesses between 1971 and 2007.

Mrs. Harper has won several awards, including the Governor's Award for Workforce Development in 1995. She was the Mecklenburg County Finance Chair for Governor Jim Hunt during his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1984. She was appointed to the N.C. Banking Commission from 1982-1985, served on the N.C. Advisory Board for Workforce Development from 1990-1992 and the N.C. Small Business Council from 1993-1997. In 1995 she was appointed to the U.S. Export Council of North Carolina by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Mrs. Harper was the first female to serve as chairperson of the Flexographic Technical Association's (FTA) Annual Forum in Orlando, Florida, and the first female to chair the annual Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Institute Conference, in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, the National Flexographic Center and the Harper Campus at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte was named in honor of the Harpers for their contribution to the school's various programs.

The Harpers were the first to participate in the FTA`s Flexo In High Schools/Colleges program, which was initiated in 1990 and saw the first flexographic press installed in a high school in 1992. Today 21 high schools and 32 colleges in the U.S., Canada and Argentina provide hands-on training for young people interested in pursuing a career in flexography. Harper is a strong supporter of the Phoenix Challenge Foundation, a group of dedicated volunteers who work with high schools to promote friendly competition in flexo education.

Ron Harper said, "I am so proud of Katherine, that even today after a marriage of fifty-five years, five children, fourteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren, she is still raring and ready to get involved. Kat has been my greatest personal inspiration in a life and career that has been very rewarding. But she takes little credit, insisting that God deserves all the praise."

Harper added, "We have made many friends at ASU over the past fifteen years and have always been impressed with their enthusiasm and professional approach to the education of our young people. We are honored and happy to be able to provide financial assistance for the training and teaching of those who are destined to become tomorrow's leaders."

For further information, please contact Jazmin Kluttz at 704-588-3371 or jkluttz@harperimage.com.

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