Dr. LaVerne Harmon, President of Wilmington University

Portrait of Dr. Harmon
Dr. LaVerne Harmon, President


Dr. LaVerne Harmon became President of Wilmington University in July of 2017 after being unanimously approved by its Board of Trustees. She is the first African American woman to be named the president of a college or university in Delaware. Dr. Harmon also oversees operations of the Wilmington University School of Law. She holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Harmon began working at Wilmington University (then college) in 1989 and held numerous positions while earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wilmington University. She then maintained her full-time position while earning her doctorate. Dr. Harmon held key roles in the University’s internal operations, planning, and strategic growth, flourishing from positions as assistant to the President to director of Human Resources, from director of Student Affairs and Alumni Relations to vice president of Student Affairs, and from Executive Vice President to President. Dr. Harmon dedicates herself to the well-being and success of all students. A collaborative leader who also thrives on building partnerships, she created the University’s Leadership Institute, established its offices of Student Affairs and Disability Services, and advanced the University’s athletics from NAIA to NCAA Division II. 

Dr. Harmon has earned numerous accolades, including the A. Philip Randolph Institute – Delaware Chapter’s African American Women Firsts for the State of Delaware Award (2023); Canaan Baptist Church’s Educational Leadership Award (2023); Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation Inspiration Award (2021); Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Northern Woman of Distinction Award (2019); Girls Inc. Strong, Smart & Bold Award (2018); Associazione Regional Abruzzese Delco Person of the Year Award (2018); New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Award (2018); NAACP Martha Evans Excellence in Education Award (Wilmington branch) (2018); Toastmaster’s District 18 Communication & Leadership Award (2017); Educator of the Year Award from the Nu Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi (2017); The National Association of University Women Educator of the Year Award (2015); Markevic A. Johnson Scholarship Foundation Woman of Distinction Award (2015); Phi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year Award (2013); The American Council on Education Leadership Award (2011); and The National Association of University Women Community Service in Education Award (2000). 

Dr. Harmon authored and published “The Heart of Leadership: A Personal Reflection,” a book that enlightens professionals about the importance of compassion, a trait that informs many successful and respected leaders’ actions and behaviors. Proceeds from book sales are donated to the Wilmington University Linda Thomas Scholarship, which Dr. Harmon founded in 1999 in memory of her sister.  

Dr. Harmon serves on several boards, including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU); Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (Presidents Council Treasurer); Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation (Advisory), The Mary Campbell Center (Board), United Way of Delaware (Board Secretary), Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware (Board), Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore (Advisory); and The Grand Opera House (Board, 2023 and 2017 Grand Gala Co-Chair). Dr. Harmon is also Presidential Sponsor and Executive Committee Member of the American Council on Education: Office of Women in Higher Education Delaware Network. She holds memberships in the International Women’s Forum and the Delaware Business Roundtable.

Dr. Harmon was instrumental in establishing the Delaware American Council on Education Women’s Network (DAWN) and served as a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.