Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: 1978 – 1980
Baruch College Date of Graduation: 1980
Major: Business Management
Sigma Positions: 1st Year – Chair of Membership, 2nd Year – President
Melva Harris grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, but came to New York to study business. In 1980, she graduated from Baruch College, having majored in Business Management and minored in Administration. During her years at Baruch, she was an active member of Sigma Alpha Delta, in which she was Chair of Membership. She had wanted to make a difference for students who took classes in the evening, and helped establish a rapport with the Dean of Students to accomplish just that. “While night school was very open to us, it was not very understanding of the full time employee – night student,” said Ms. Harris. “Sigma gave us an opening to help the college see what value there was in this group of students.” Following her experience as Chair of Membership, Ms. Harris went on to serve as President of Sigma in her senior year.
Ms. Harris had chosen Baruch because it was considered one of the best colleges for business in the nation. She sought to create professional opportunities for herself, and by the time she entered graduate school, Ms. Harris was quite disciplined about the business world. She earned her M.A. in Human Relations/Psychology from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). Her studies at NYIT helped enhance her skills and abilities in her job as Office Supervisor at AT&T Long Lines. During her employment with AT&T she acquired valuable professional skills, which enabled her to better communicate and interact with all levels of management. The training and interpersonal skills she developed while at AT&T, combined with the values acquired at Baruch, helped her a great deal in the corporate world.
Ms. Harris is a Management Consultant, a professional speaker in management training, an Adjunct Professor, and a motivational/inspirational writer. She has also established a second business as an Independent Business Owner (IBO) in partnership with Amway Global. She believes that entrepreneurship is the most enriching experience because it has helped her “to grow in patience [and] have greater understanding of others.” It has also taught her “more effective communication and business acumen that was not really taught in college.”
Ms. Harris learned responsibility from her parents, who treated her less as a “friend” and more as a responsible individual growing up. She was liable for completing her daily tasks and earning good grades. Ms. Harris has pride in “taking responsibility for [her] own life – not living in blame or expecting others to ‘take’ care of [her].” She carries herself with a strong sense of the values learned during her childhood.
Today, Ms. Harris has found passion in her faith and in serving/ministering at her Church as a teacher of the Gospel. Ms. Harris recognizes Sigma Alpha Delta in helping her develop the confidence and leadership skills necessary to embark on her professional career and postgraduate life. She advises Baruch Students to NOT JOIN IN the myriad of students who just want to “get by.”
“Far too many students are poor in reading for comprehension, grammar, speaking, communication, and spelling. Be the exception – learn all you can, grow, seek knowledge and be open to the challenge of studying so that you truly learn and earn your grades. Then, go out and make a real difference as you walk in excellence. You will stand out in the crowd and you can be a great influence to those coming up behind you.”