Ron Harper ’59

Attached to Brother Ron Harper’s information packet were two pictures of Upsilon Alpha brothers, older, wiser and successful. Stuck on one of the pictures was a note that stated, “I enclose those only to show how close our FIJI Brothers still are.”

Initiated in 1956, Brother Harper jumped right in to help at the Upsilon Alpha Chapter, working four years in the kitchen and eventually taking the reigns as the Chapter’s Historian and Cabinet Member. He also spread his natural sense of dedication to U of A as well. He was member of both the Sophos and Traditions honoraries.

After graduating from the U of A in 1959 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, the roots of his oak-solid career in construction began to grow with a job at Morrison-Knudson Co., as an engineer. During that time he also enlisted as a member of the Arizona Air National Guard and was also a U.S. Air Force Reservist.

From Morrison-Knudson Co., the sense of leadership and commitment all FIJI brothers are known for shone through when he landed a job as the Development Manager for the Tanss Corp in 1964 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. There, he was involved in numerous residential and commercial development projects.

Finally, with the experience under his belt, he was ready to take on much bigger and better challenges. As Sea World’s Vice President of Development, he was instrumental in developing the now famous marine entertainment parks in San Diego, Orlando and Cleveland. He also served as President of Sea World of Ohio and Florida.

Brother Harper left Sea World to start his own construction business in 1974. As of today, Harper Construction Company has constructed major projects throughout California, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, Washington and Florida. He is also the managing partner of many construction joint ventures.

As an alumnus, Brother Harper’s list of contributions to FIJI is significant to say the least. He helped start FIJI chapters at both the University of California San Diego and San Diego State.

Brother Harper resides in Poway, California, with Kaye, his wife of 44 years. They have four children, all U of A graduates, and 12 grandchildren.

He has remained very active in the community, but took special attention to the Children’s Hospital of San Diego after his grandson, Colton, underwent open-heart surgery when he was only 1 week old. Since then, he has been a regular donor to several organizations affiliated with the hospital. He is also a Children’s Hospital Foundation Board Member and is known throughout the foundation for his ways of charming others into helping out.

Brother Harper enjoys golf and traveling with his wife and family.

When asked what Upsilon Alpha and FIJI mean to him, he said that the most rewarding part has been the continuing friendships and times spent with FIJI Brothers in the following 47 years. And as Brother Newton D. Baker, former Secretary of the War Department said, “The forces that have been greatest in my life, have been God and the college fraternity that molded me.