Dr. J. Harold Harrison, a 1948 graduate of the state’s public medical school and a renowned vascular surgeon, was posthumously honored as the recipient of the Jack A. Raines Humanitarian Award for 2016 during the Medical Association of Georgia’s 162nd House of Delegates Meeting in Savannah, Oct. 15. The award, given to a physician for outstanding humanitarian contributions beyond the normal practice of medicine, was accepted by Dr. Harrison’s wife, Sue.
The Harrisons’ donation of $10 million helped build the J. Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons, which opened in 2015 and is the academic home of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. In April 2013, the MCG Foundation announced a $66 million gift from his estate, the largest gift ever to any public institution in Georgia and one of only a handful of such nationwide.
“The reason for Dr. Harrison’s posthumous nomination and recognition by MAG is not the size of his gift or even his profound generosity,” Dr. Craig Kearns and Daniel Walton, president and executive director of the Richmond County Medical Society, respectively, wrote in a nomination letter to MAG. “It is the extraordinary significance and impact of this physician’s strategic philanthropy which is designed solely to advance Georgia’s physician workforce in perpetuity.”
Harrison’s gift will provide funding for 10 endowed chairs and 48 student scholarships to MCG.
“This remarkable gift to our medical school has helped ensure that we are able to continue recruiting top-notch faculty and the best and brightest future physicians,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG dean and executive vice president for medical affairs and integration at Augusta University. “The immeasurable impact of Dr. Harrison’s vision for his alma mater will be felt for decades to come.”