Harlor Family Legacy as Rector Scholars and DePauw Supporters

In June 2018, Lyle Harlor ’48 returned to DePauw for his 70-year reunion, along with his son David Harlor ’78, who attended his 40-year reunion. Both Lyle and David attended DePauw as Rector scholars. David said he enjoys coming to campus for reunions. “I meet so many classmates I didn’t know well, or at all. I’ve come to appreciate that they are all very special people, and I wish I’d known them better when I was here.”

Lyle was valedictorian at his high school in Riverside, Ill., graduating a year early so he could start college before military service. He said the Rector Scholarship made it possible for him to attend college. Drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1945, he applied to take the difficult Eddy Test, earning admittance to the Electronics Training Program, reported to be the toughest technical instruction for enlisted personnel. He served 17 months stateside before returning to DePauw and graduating in 1948 with a degree in physics and math.

Three and a half years into the physics doctoral program at Indiana University, Lyle was recruited to work on the country’s first full-scale thermonuclear experiment, Operation Ivy. He then taught math and physics at University of Denver before being recruited by the U.S. Air Force Center for Operations Analysis at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs.

David chose to attend DePauw for its strong economics department. He earned a Rector Scholarship and worked in the computer center to finance his education. His on-campus job fueled his interest in computers, and he found inspiration taking philosophy classes. He enrolled in a physics class, hoping to impress his dad and “to learn the physics of loudspeakers.” Lyle and David said they had great professors, including O.H. Smith in physics and Alan Pankratz, Fred Silander and Ralph Gray in economics.

David and Lyle both joined Delta Chi fraternity, served as treasurer and worked on major renovation projects. “We had a high-interest mortgage. We needed to raise cash and lower costs,” David said. “I went down to the bank as a 19-year-old and renegotiated our loan, freeing up $200,000 for renovations while lowering our monthly payment. One project funded was replacing all 68 windows in the house. My dad said we were replacing the windows he’d installed.”

David graduated with a degree in economics and minors in philosophy and computational mathematics. He earned an MBA and met his wife, Florence, at Indiana University before starting his career at Arthur Anderson Systems Consulting by tapping a connection made at DePauw. He later moved into entrepreneurship, undertaking some trying ventures and some more successful ones, such as recently providing transactional processing and a paperless back office for many of the nation’s interstate trucking firms. “You have to be a little bit foolish, optimistic and a risk-taker” to be an entrepreneur, David said. “Being able to draw on a large skill set is very important and my preparation at DePauw helped in that process.”

Like so many former Rector scholars, Lyle and David contribute annually to support DePauw. “As a young freshman at DePauw, the greatest mental impression I had was John H. Harrison Hall, the newest building on campus,” Lyle said. “It was so modern and housed most of the technology on campus at the time. Understanding that someone was able to give to build that was an inspiration for my giving.”

David said, “Our family was raised with a sense of moral responsibility toward generosity. Reaching out because we’ve been blessed with so much is part of our family culture. Dad has lived that example for us. My ability to come to DePauw was based on somebody else’s generosity, and I believe it comes with a responsibility to continue that legacy.”

To learn more about how you can support DePauw and students, contact the Development and Alumni Engagement Office at 800-446-5298.


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