James I. Harrison Sr., 1907-1988



James I. Harrison Sr., 1907-1988


Harco Drug Stores
Harrison, James I. Sr., 1907-1988


On January 25, 2002, Auburn University dedicated its Harrison School of Pharmacy to honor Harco Drugs patriarch James I. Harrison Sr.

The name change, approved by the AU Board of Trustees, will honor Harrison, who grew a single pharmacy in Tuscaloosa into the Harco Drug chain and whose family has supported the Auburn pharmacy school for many years.

"No other Alabama family has contributed as much to the field of pharmacy in Alabama as the Harrisons," AU Interim President William F. Walker said. "Without a doubt, they are Alabama's first family of pharmacy.

"The vision the Harrison family exhibited with the founding and growth of the Harco chain is exactly the same kind of vision we hope to cultivate in our graduates from the AU Harrison School of Pharmacy."

James I. Harrison Sr., was born in rural Perry County and began his pharmacy career as an employee of Wilkerson Drug in Marion while still in high school. Soon after graduating high school, he left for pharmacy school at Auburn.

In 1941, 16 years after receiving an AU pharmacy degree, Harrison and his wife, Elizabeth, were able to open the first family-owned store, Central Drug in Tuscaloosa. When his son, Jim Jr., graduated from pharmacy school in 1955, the elder Harrison acquired a second store, Druid Drug, on the campus of the University of Alabama that Jim Jr. and his brother, Ben, managed.

Jim Harrison Jr. grew Harco into a chain of more than 150 stores before the company merged with Rite Aid in 1997. Under his leadership, Chain Drug Review in 1995 named Harco the nation's top community drug store chain.

A graduate of Howard College (now Samford University), Jim Jr. has been honored for his distinguished service to the AU School of Pharmacy, Samford University and the University of Alabama, each of which he has served in various advisory capacities.


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