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CCCCD Names Gladys Harrington The First "Living Legend"

CCCCD Names Gladys Harrington The First "Living Legend"

May 29, 2003 - On Thursday, May 29, Collin County Community College District kicked off a new tribute honoring the pillars of the community, with local icon Gladys Harrington as the inaugural "Living Legend."

In a ceremony at CCCCD's Spring Creek Campus, college representatives as well as elected officials, family and civic leaders formally recognized Harrington with the distinction before a crowd of 125.

CCCCD trustee Cindy Bauge and David Garrison, president of the Faculty Senate, officially presented Harrington with an honorary degree from the college. This was the first time in CCCCD history that the college bestowed an honorary degree. Harrington reportedly was surprised and excited about receiving the honorary college degree.

According to Bauge, "I have known Gladys for many years, and she is an inspiration to all of us. She truly epitomizes the core values of CCCCD-Learning, Service and Involvement, Creativity and Innovation, Academic Excellence, Dignity and Respect and Integrity."

The guest of honor, who was celebrating her 102nd birthday, was also featured in a video and will be immortalized in a bound book to be displayed at the college.

"The purpose of this program is to further build the community by honoring its builders," said Sam Roach, chair of the Board of Trustees for the college. "We intend for the Living Legends Tribute to be a catalyst for unity and participation throughout Collin County. Mrs. Harrington is truly legendary for her hard work as a volunteer."

Gladys Haggard Harrington came to Plano at the age of 16, when it was a farming town of just 1,500. She graduated from Plano High School in 1919 and, after raising two sons, put her time and talents into community service.

"I've worked all my life," she said. "I didn't just sit and wait. When something needed to be done, I pitched in and did it."

Among her many accomplishments, Harrington is credited with starting Plano's first library and serving as chair of the Plano Public Library Board for 13 years. She helped found the Plano Symphony Orchestra, was a member of the Plano Chamber of Commerce, Plano Heritage Association and the Fine Arts League of Plano and was very involved in local politics. She also helped sponsor the Plano Symphony Orchestra's annual Collin County Young Artists Competition.

"Collin County's population is estimated to top 576,000 this year, and it certainly did not blossom to a powerhouse of this magnitude without the dedication of some very special people. Gladys Harrington is one of those people," said CCCCD President Cary Israel. "We tell our students how important it is to be civically engaged. Mrs. Harrington is a perfect example of how we can all make a difference."

According to organizers, the Living Legends Tribute also paves the way for the future by establishing the Living Legends Endowment Fund, which will support education for the leaders of tomorrow within the community and district.

College officials expect 2004 to welcome four more Living Legends to the fold. Civic leaders, representatives from the private and public sectors, college officials and foundation representatives will nominate and select the candidates. Subsequent honorees will be selected using CCCCD's core values as criteria. To learn more about this innovative program, call the CCCCD Foundation at 972-881-5611.