Singing, dancing and comedy routines during evening prime time might make Westminster College students think they are getting a sneak peek at future contestants on "The Voice," or "American Idol." Instead, thanks to ongoing financial support from Westminster alumnus and Board of Trustees member, Jim Harrod, and his wife Sharon, Westminster students are able to see friends and classmates share their gifts of voice or comedy or other stage-worthy talent in what has arguably become one of the most popular annual programs on campus, the WestMo Talent Show.
Each year in the spring, students begin practicing to compete for prizes in a top-notch display of trained, and not-so-trained, voices, instrumental renditions of popular songs, and other forms of entertainment which can often dazzle the audience. The campus Cultural Diversity Organization/Office of Student Life sponsors the event, which continues to evolve into a college-wide opportunity for any student to either polish their performance chops, or to break free from stage fright and bring their shower singing to the Westminster community.
Jim and Sharon Harrod have helped this become a must-see gathering through their generous sponsorship for the past five years. Jim, a 1957 Westminster graduate with a degree in Chemistry, was an active member of the College community, belonging to several academic and leadership clubs. He remembers with excitement his days as a member of the glee club, and participation as a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the 'fraternity sings.' These presentations were full-scale and elaborate musical shows that involved the whole campus, along with women students from other colleges, and gave the winning organization tremendous pride in coming out as victor. Jim says, "The fraternity sings did a good job of keeping us occupied on something positive for a while," and these memories moved Jim and Sharon to provide support for a similar program today.
Jim Harrod, a Fulton, MO, native, has a long history of leadership and commitment to business and Westminster College. Upon graduation from Westminster, Jim was accepted into the Washington University medical school, but after a year in that program decided medicine was not in his future. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1958, commanded a river boat in Viet Nam, and taught chemistry at the U.S. Naval Academy until his retirement as Commander in 1968. He joined what was then-known as the Edward D. Jones Company, now Edward Jones, and quickly moved up through the management ranks to become General Partner in 1974. He retired from the company in 1997 as corporate head of Advanced New Broker Training. Jim and Sharon have been life-long and generous givers to a variety of programs and campaigns at Westminster College, and Jim has served in a variety of leadership posts on the College Board of Trustees since 1995.
The Harrod's support of this year's Student Talent Show will be their sixth year of making this exciting program possible for student, faculty and staff entertainment and involvement.