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Ohio Entrepreneur and Distinguished Philanthropist Ronald G. Harrington to Receive 2016 Horatio Alger Award
Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Ronald G. Harrington, chairman, BioMotiv/Harrington Project, has been selected for membership in the prestigious organization.
Mr. Harrington joins 12 other accomplished business and civic leaders from across North America in receiving this honor in 2016. Since its establishment in 1947, the Horatio Alger Award has been bestowed annually upon recognized leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversity and who are committed to both philanthropy and higher education.
Mr. Harrington was born in 1942 in Baltimore, MD. His father worked as a salesman for a steel company and the family moved several times, which made it difficult for him, an only child, to make friends. Mr. Harrington was seven years old when his father died of a heart attack. He and his mother made new lives for themselves by moving to Cleveland, where his mother worked as a secretary and his aunt took over as his primary caregiver. He attended public schools, earned average grades and loved sports. He became a more serious student at Ohio State University when, as a Marketing and Finance major, he saw the correlation between learning and his desire to own a business. He soon became a salesman at Bonne Bell Cosmetics Company and his boss, Jess Bell, became a mentor and friend. Mr. Harrington loved his job and became the company’s youngest sales manager.
In 1977, Mr. Harrington purchased stock in a company with his brother-in-law and together they ran a manufacturing firm that served the restaurant and meat packing industries. In 1990, he purchased and developed a company that included his wife, Nancy, daughter, Jill, and son, Ron. Edgepark Medical Supplies, the family business, grew from $2 million in sales to a level that in 2010 prompted Cardinal Health to acquire the company for $2 billion. Edgepark experienced 20 consecutive years of double digit sales increases, as well as 20 consecutive years of double digit profit growth. Mr. Harrington says that the best part of this success was the journey with his family and sharing the experience together.
“In addition to his business acumen, Mr. Harrington brings to Horatio Alger Association an outstanding dedication to lifelong education and impact philanthropy,” said Byron Trott, president and CEO, Horatio Alger Association and 2011 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “He generously contributes to organizations that are making a difference, and this charitable nature is a hallmark of our membership. Mr. Harrington understands the importance of helping others, especially through lifelong education, and I am certain that he will serve as an excellent mentor to our young Scholars.”
Mr. Harrington and his family are incredibly charitable, especially to organizations focused on medicine and education. They co-founded a cancer wellness center that offers free support to families touched by cancer. Mr. Harrington’s doctor discovered in 2000 that he had coronary artery disease and needed a quadruple bypass. His experience with this care and his exposure to the disease prompted him and his family to commit $22 million to establish the Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio (2008). Strengthened by the power of impact philanthropy, the Harrington family made a $50 million gift to University Hospitals Case Medical Center in 2012. This established the global Harrington Project for Discovery and Development, which advances medicine and society by accelerating breakthrough drug discoveries into medicines. It aligns non-profit and for-profit resources and forges targeted partnerships with impact philanthropists and investors to deliver on its mission.
In accepting this award, Mr. Harrington commented, "My family and I consider it a wonderful honor to be recognized by this Association and to join its incomparable group of Members. In addition to being humbled to be selected by an association with a great name, we’re honored that I can join it in mission. Our family understands that many young people struggle to pursue a higher education in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We are committed to lifelong education for all people and look forward to helping promising young men and women attend college despite the challenges they have faced.”
Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this goal, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced numerous challenges and have displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming them. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $110 million to students in need. Scholarships are funded solely through the generosity of Association Members, Life Partners and friends.
Mr. Harrington and the Member Class of 2016 will be officially welcomed into the organization during the 69th Annual Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C., from March 31-April 2, 2016. In addition to recognizing these tremendous leaders, Horatio Alger Association will also honor its 2016 National Scholarship recipients, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and learn from one another.
About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity and pursue their dreams through higher education. Thanks to their generosity, the Association awards more than $11 million annually in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada and provides college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $110 million in college scholarships to more than 22,000 deserving young people.