Mary Harroun ’66 is no stranger to the buzz around campus surrounding innovation, design, and experiential learning, as she was once bitten by the entrepreneurial bug herself. After graduating from Culver-Stockton College with majors in speech pathology, psychology, and elementary education, Harroun enjoyed a successful career as an entrepreneur, inventor, and businesswoman who founded a successful company for her invention, the Merry Walker.
For nearly thirty years, the Merry Walker company provided opportunities for increased mobility among those who require assistance to walk with their patented tubular steel frame walker/chair combination. The original idea for the Merry Walker came to Harroun when she was working as an activity director at a retirement community in Chicago in the late 1980s. She recalls walking through the hallways one day where she observed a resident with dementia who was struggling with mobility. It was then that Harroun had the “aha moment” that sparks so many useful inventions- identifying an urgent need with no obvious solution.
Harroun spent much of her life dedicated to the pursuit of providing a solution to an urgent need. Now, she is as dedicated to the commitment of helping Culver-Stockton College students pursue innovative solutions that make an impact. Harroun and her husband, Warren Young, recently made a philanthropic investment to set up an endowment fund for entrepreneurship with the intent of inspiring C-SC students to develop creative ideas to solve unique and ever-changing problems. In addition to providing funding for this endowment, Harroun is offering guidance, legal assistance, and her enthusiasm to help young inventors follow their dreams.
Harroun shared, “I really believe in smaller, liberal arts schools. Culver-Stockton gave me the total learning I needed for life, and I will be forever beholden to that. Ever, forever and ever and ever. And that’s remarkable.”