Peru, Neb. – A savvy investment decision early in Carlos Harrison’s career has paid big dividends later in his life. Now, the Shenandoah, Iowa, resident has decided to pay it forward to his alma mater, Peru State College.

Harrison, a 1951 Peru State graduate, gave the College stocks he has held since the 1950s, and the gift yielded more than $630,000. He designated $536,000 to Project ROAR, Peru State’s campaign to build five new health and wellness-related facilities at Nebraska’s first college.

It is the largest gift from an individual the campaign; launched late last summer, has received to date, according to Peru State President, Dr. Michael Evans.

“Peru State College is deeply grateful to Carlos for his vision and his generosity,” Evans said.

“Project ROAR is focused on students’ physical and mental well-being. Carlos’s gift will have an enormous impact on Project ROAR, on our students, and on this College for decades to come.”

Harrison, raised on the family farm near Tabor, Iowa, went on from Peru State to obtain a master’s degree. He then served in the U.S. Army before returning to Shenandoah as a regional executive for the Boy Scouts of America.

Harrison then accepted a position in Omaha for a Pennsylvania-based corporation called Air Products and Chemicals. He transferred to its California operation, where he spent much of his life and career, remaining with Air Products until 1974. Later he worked for United Airlines, retiring in 2000 for a return to his native southwest Iowa.

‘Part of Air Products’ compensation package allowed employees to use six percent of their salary to buy company stock, an opportunity Harrison seized. Soon after, he received his first dividend check “for the great sum of five cents,” Harrison said.

So instead of receiving dividends, Harrison opted to roll the gains into the purchase of more Air Products stock. The stock fund grew, and grew, and grew, eventually allowing him to give a portion of his portfolio to Peru State via its nonprofit fundraising corporation, the Peru State College Foundation.

Project ROAR is only the latest example of the 94-year-old’s commitment to Peru State College. He was active in alumni chapters in California when he resided there, and he has been on Peru State’s National Alumni Association board since its founding in 2002. At age 94, he still enjoys taking in college events and activities when he can.

Harrison stated, “It was a great pleasure to donate my appreciated stock at this time so future Bobcats can continue to ROAR.”

Harrison already endowed a scholarship in memory of his parents, Walter and Lillian Harrison, to enable students to attend Peru State. Through the years he has been one of the most steady and significant donors to nearly a dozen different causes that benefit the College.

With his latest gift, Harrison also earmarked some of the proceeds from the stock sale to his parents’ scholarship fund and to another upcoming capital construction project on Peru State’s radar screen.

Project ROAR represents the first construction of all-new buildings at Peru State since 1980. Evans said the plan is to break ground on its first phase this spring. At a more than $15 million estimated cost, Project ROAR is the largest construction project, both in terms of cost and square footage – in the more than 155-year history of Peru State.

The Peru State College Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation whose sole mission is to support Peru State College through receipt and distribution of charitable gifts to support the College.

Gifts to Project ROAR can be made online at or by check made out and mailed to: Peru State College Foundation, Project ROAR, PO Box 10, Peru, NE 68421-0010. Questions can be directed to Ted Harshbarger at the Foundation, 402-872-2304 or


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