Dr. Sandra S. Harper, a native of Dallas, Texas, began serving as the President of McMurry University on October 1, 2013. Prior to her McMurry appointment, Harper served as the President of Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from 2006-2013 and as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi from 1998-2006. Harper’s other administrative posts included serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oklahoma City University and as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at McMurry University. Harper served as a faculty member in the communication and theater department at McMurry University from 1985-1995.
Harper received her B.S. degree from Texas Tech University and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. Harper also completed the Harvard Management Development Program and the Governor’s Executive Development Program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas. Harper is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges and serves as its chair of the Compliance and Reports Committee on Substantive Change. She is the chair-elect of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) and the chair of the Texas United Methodist College Association. She also serves on the boards of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church, the Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (EIIA), the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, the Abilene Industrial Foundation, and the Grace Museum. Harper was elected to serve on the United Methodist University Senate for the 2017-2020 quadrennium.
In 2011, Harper was named a Distinguished Alumna by the Texas Tech University College of Education. She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who in American Education. Harper has received the Management Excellence Award from the Society for the Advancement of Management, the Y Women in Careers Award from the Corpus Christi YWCA, and the Outstanding Faculty Award and the Outstanding Administrator Award from McMurry University.
She is married to Dave Harper, who coached at Abilene High School for nine years and other high schools in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. The couple has two sons, who spent most of their childhood in Abilene. Justin Harper, a major in the United States Army, and his wife and four children are stationed in Kansas. Jonathan Harper is the Assistant Director of Equipment Operations in the athletics department at the University of North Texas. He and his wife live in Denton, Texas