Dr. Margaret "Margo" Harbison

Margaret “Margo” Warlick Harbison, was born on December 19, 1935, in Lawndale, North Carolina. She earned bachelor’ s and master’s degrees from Appalachian State University, and her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Harbison arrived in Commerce in 1974, as a professor in the Health and Physical Education Department and served as the first Coordinator of Womens Athletics at East Texas State University. Her budget of $10,300, did not cover the cost of uniforms for the teams. She appealed to President McDowell for more funds, and he doubled the budget. By 1980, funding for women’s athletics had increased tenfold. That year, the volleyball team finished second in the NAIA national tournament, and the tennis team finished third nationally in 1981.

Dr. Harbison was promoted to Associate Athletic Director in 1985 and became Athletic Director in 1988, making her the eleventh woman in the history of NCAA Division II to hold such a position. Athletics saw considerable success during Harbison’s tenure, including several conference championships and a women’s basketball team that advanced to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament. Harbison served on several professional committees including the Division II Restructuring Committee, chair of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee, and the Executive Board of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. She retired in 1999 but remained civically active, receiving the Commerce Citizen of the Year Award in 2002. Dr. Harbison passed away on July 20, 2015.