James Harriss

James Harriss

Professor of Banking & Finance, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Borick Business Building 215


BBA, Sam Houston State University, Finance, 1977, MBA, Sam Houston State University, Finance, 1978, DBA, Mississippi State University, Finance, 1987


How did you discover Western?

I was looking for a smaller teaching-oriented university (enrollment-wise) away from big cities with a very congenial faculty that was student oriented. Western fulfilled all these criteria as well as being centered in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

Administration has been a tremendous help to me in allowing me to put together a Finance emphasis and having input in the new Outdoor Industry MBA program as well as the new Professional Certificate Program in Financial Planning. This would probably not have been possible at larger universities.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

  • Winning the Outstanding Dissertation Award at Mississippi State University
  • Being elected to a federal agricultural banks’ Board of Directors for seven years
  • Being awarded two Endowed Chairs in Finance at two universities
  • Creating the entire curriculum for a Finance major at three universities

What most excites you about your field?

Showing students how everything that is taught in all Finance classes is applied in the real world. Having worked in the Finance field (commercial banking, financial expert witness, CFO, bank board of directors), it allows me to give students real perspectives as related to topics and assignments covered in various classes. Also, the Finance field is constantly changing and is exciting to keep up with new ideas and topics. You are learning all the time.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

Not just the beauty, but the people are fantastic.