A History of Leading By Example
Dr. John West Harris, a small-town farm boy turned wartime flying instructor, led the life of both an adventurer and scholar. Dr. Harris was a lauded proponent of education with A.B. and M.A. degrees from Wofford College, a Ph.D. from The University of North Carolina, a membership in Phi Betta Kappa and a year’s attendance at Columbia University Law School. His joy of learning led to a joy of teaching- both inside and outside of the classroom, stressing that academics and life experiences were equally valuable for personal and professional success. A well-rounded individual himself, Dr. Harris was the epitome of “lead by example”.
In 1934, the dream became a reality with the establishment of National Beta, a national organization devoted to honoring and recognizing students for their achievement, character and leadership qualities, as well as encouraging growth through service and comradery. From the first club of 15 members at Landrum High School in Landrum, SC to an international student organization with 500,000 members annually, National Beta has grown in size, but its focus, and values have held steadfast and true to the vision which Dr. Harris set forth.