Alumni Achievement Award: Andy Harris

Andy Harris graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1987. He has since earned a reputation for personal and professional integrity and leadership as a CEO in the high-stakes, private-equity-backed specialty chemicals industry. He has successfully led several corporations and currently is the CEO of Vantage Specialty Chemicals, a leading producer of naturally derived specialty ingredients.

Throughout his career, Andy has remained a loyal Wildcat, tirelessly supporting the university, its students and alumni. He is an Honorary Bobcat, has served as president of the OCCats, was on the UA Alumni Association Wildcat for Life Leadership Council, and served on the UAAA Governing Board for seven years. Currently, Andy is a member of the National Leadership Council for the UA Foundation and also directly supports the university and Alumni Association presidents.

One passion of Andy’s is to help the UA develop a best-in-class mentor program for students and alumni. In 2018, his vision became reality when he worked with the Alumni Association to develop, fund and pilot the innovative Wildcat Mentor Society. In its initial year, the program made a positive impact on 27 mentors and 90 students who met monthly. 

Andy directly mentored three seniors, each studying business. Nina Fitchett ’19 says, “Andy has been an outstanding mentor and provides a wonderful example for myself and each of the other group members. In our monthly meetings we are able to share experiences and provide input to overcome various challenges in our lives, both personally and professionally. I am so grateful to have Andy as my mentor.”

The Alumni Achievement Award, established in 1943, is given to alumni who attain prominence in their field of endeavor and demonstrate outstanding service to the University of Arizona. It is the highest honor the UA Alumni Association bestows upon alumni. Andy Harris has risen to the top of his field while remaining steadfast in his dedication to the university. The UA Alumni Association is proud to honor him with this award.