Dear NC Elite Volleyball Club Community,
NC Elite is humbly honored to announce the Andrea Harris Memorial Award. Andrea Harris, co-founder of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development (know as "The Institute"), spent her professional life helping to build businesses owned by women and minorities in North Carolina and was an advocate for marginalized and disenfranchised communities and entrepreneurs through policy, education and opportunities.
Over her career, Miss Harris received numerous awards, including multiple Order of the Long Leaf Pine awards, and in 2014 was named the Lifetime Achievement Winner in Triangle Business Journal's Leaders in Diversity Awards. NC Governor Roy Cooper described Andrea as a "trailblazer who never stopped fighting for social and racial equity", and said of Miss Harris, "When doors were intentionally shut, she broke through for women and minority-owned businesses to succeed, modeled excellence in advocacy and mentored scores of freedom fighters."
Congressman G.K. Butterfield said of Miss Harris, "Andrea dedicated her life's work to the imperative economic principle that prosperity must be shared and never isolated. Though she was the recipient of many awards and recognitions for her work in business and leadership - above all, Andrea Harris is beautifully adorned by the doors that she has opened, the opportunities that she has fostered and the lasting impact she has made on individuals, businesses and minority communities in North Carolina. Her legacy continues to challenge us all to be better, to speak up, to make our voices heard and our purpose clear," he added.
Andrea Harris was born on July 2, 1948 in Sumter, South Carolina, and grew up in Henderson, NC. She graduated from Bennett College in Greensboro. Miss Harris passed away on May 20, 2020.
I had the honor and privilege of working alongside Andrea as we served together on the National Advisory Board of the Institute for Emerging Issues at NCSU. NC Elite has founded the Andrea Harris Memorial Award to honor her work as an advocate for women and minorities, and advance her convictions through our work at NC Elite. Award recipients are individuals who demonstrate the selflessness and commitment to helping support and improve others, as demonstrated by Andrea in her life's work, in their interactions with teammates, coaches, parents, families and the greater community.
Thank you for helping us to honor the life and legacy of Andrea Harris.
Sandra Merkel DeJames
Founder and President, NC Elite Volleyball Club