Harmon, 1983 FDU grad, selected by school as this year’s commencement speaker

It’s a tremendous honor when a university gives you an honorary degree and asks you to speak at its graduation ceremonies. When it’s your alma mater, it’s even more special.

This week, Fairleigh Dickinson University announced it will honor John Harmon, the founder and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and a member of the FDU Class of 1983, at its graduation ceremonies May 18 at MetLife Stadium.

Harmon, who founded the chamber in 2007, has played an inspiring and influential role in advocating for the needs of African American residents and businesses and ensuring that governmental policies are equitable and that those who are deserving have access to meaningful opportunities in the marketplace ever since.

Harmon, who will be conferred the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and hooded with the doctoral degree in Fairleigh Dickinson’s burgundy and blue colors, said it’s the ultimate honor.

“This recognition is both gratifying and humbling,” he said. “It embodies what is possible when you take full advantage of the opportunities presented to you and work toward excellence.

“It also confirms that Fairleigh Dickinson University’s investment in me contributed to making New Jersey a better place to live, work and coexist.”

Harmon received his bachelor’s degree in business management from FDU in 1983. He excelled in the banking industry and founded a transportation company before embarking on his career as a chamber executive.

He now serves in a number of public roles. Harmon is a board member (and the former chairman) of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the founder and chairman of the New York State Black Chamber of Commerce and a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100.

His vision, devotion and commitment have been rightly recognized many times, including his distinction as the most influential person of color in New Jersey on ROI-NJ’s ROI Influencers: People of Color list, an honor he earned the last two consecutive years.