The University of Arizona Alumni Association will present its Alumni Achievement Award to Andy Harris, a 1987 chemical engineering graduate, at the university's 155th Commencement on May 10. The association has given the award since 1943 to recognize outstanding achievement or distinguished service to the UA, the Alumni Association or one's community or profession.
Since his graduation, Harris has excelled in the high stakes and often turbulent specialty chemicals industry, earning a reputation for personal and professional integrity and leadership. He has successfully led several corporations and currently is the CEO of Vantage Specialty Chemicals, a leading producer of naturally derived specialty ingredients for the personal care, consumer care, food and industrial markets.
Throughout his career, Harris has remained a loyal Wildcat, tirelessly supporting the university, its students and alumni. He is an Honorary Bobcat with the UA's Bobcats Senior Honorary, has served as president of the OCCats alumni club in Orange County, was on the UA Alumni Association Wildcat for Life Leadership Council and served on the UA Alumni Association Governing Board for seven years. Currently, Harris is a member of the National Leadership Council for the UA Foundation and also directly supports the UA and Alumni Association presidents.
One of his passions is to help the UA develop a best-in-class mentor program for students and alumni. In 2018, his vision became reality when he worked with the Alumni Association to develop, fund and pilot the innovative Wildcat Mentor Society. The program aims to help mentees build their professional network, strengthen their UA alumni network, thrive through personal challenges and create deep, meaningful relationships with mentors that last beyond the program.