At a gathering of Georgia alumni at the Quail Hollow Country Club, organized by John Mangan, a doting alumnus who was the epitome of the concept of the student-athlete during his days in Athens—he played hard (All-American tennis letterman with three SEC championship rings under the sage eye of the remarkable Dan Magill) and studied hard (prestigious degree from the Terry College of Business)—there was an old home atmosphere that speaks to the heart of yesterday’s America:
Let’s take our degrees to a neighborhood, rise in our profession, enjoy life, and do some good for our communities which should bode well for the world. Let’s take care of our families, let’s honor flag and country. Let’s embrace the work ethic and give of ourselves for a better society and forever remember alma mater.
Quail Hollow was founded by a UGA alumnus, James J. Harris in 1959. One of golf’s four majors, the PGA, was held at the club in 2017 and is coming back in 2025. The President’s Cup will take place here in 2022. Jimmy Harris would be button-popping proud of that. And so would a certain graduate of UGA’s landscape college, George Cobb, whom Harris hired to design Quail Hollow.
Johnny Harris, the eldest of Harris’ sons, and a mover and shaker in Charlotte and in golf circles, was a confidante and business partner of Arnold Palmer. Johnny’s alma mater is North Carolina but he felt moved to accept Mangan’s invitation to make an appearance and comingle with the Red and Black aficionados. “I know my dad would be upset if I did not join this party,” he told the many UGA advocates with whom he visited.
The Harris family, including Johnny’s brother, Cammie, and his late sister Sara Bissell, have long been supporters of Georgia. For years, Jimmy Harris and his foundation provided funds to pay the tuition of graduates of three principal Athens high schools—Clarke Central, Cedar Shoals and Athens Academy—provided they enrolled at Georgia.
The Harris Foundation made a major gift to the Butts-Mehre Building on campus. The University of Georgia has benefited from this family’s generosity for years, owing to the loyalty of a patriarch who deeply understood the principle of giving back to one’s alma mater.