Distinguished Alumnus Harris announces $2.5M planned gift

Lyt Harris and Stacia Haynie

Provost Stacia Haynie with Lyt Harris 

September 19, 2019

BATON ROUGE - LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business alumnus and Baton Rouge native, Lyttleton “Lyt” Harris IV strengthened his commitment to student success when he announced a $2.5 million planned gift benefiting LSU marketing students.

Harris’ estate gift will be used to grow the Lyttleton T. Harris IV Scholarship, his existing endowed scholarship for junior and senior marketing students.

Scholarships create opportunity by making a world-class education more accessible to deserving students. Growing scholarship support is a priority in LSU’s $1.5 billion Fierce for the Future campaign. Endowed scholarships are particularly important as they offer a perpetual funding source.

“Scholarships advance student success,” said E. J. Ourso College Dean Richard D. White Jr. “By establishing an endowed scholarship, Lyt had already made a lasting impact. His planned gift takes this commitment to a new level. We are so grateful for his remarkable generosity and the opportunities he has created for our marketing students.”

Last year the Ourso College awarded scholarships to more than 100 undergraduate students; the total value of these donor-funded scholarships exceeded $170,000.

“While pondering where my legacy would make the most impact on society, I chose education since the future of the United States rests on the shoulders of the upcoming generations and it is important that those less fortunate are given the opportunity to pursue higher education with the assistance of scholarships rather than be burdened with excessive student loan debt for many years into their careers, “ said Harris.

Harris graduated from LSU in 1963 with his MS in marketing and has since gone on to professional success. Harris started at Scott Paper Co., where he rose through the ranks and became the project manager for the first disposable diapers, taking them from test market to national distribution. After his time at Scott Paper Co., Harris joined a large division of Hunt Wesson Foods as director of marketing where he helped propel the Orville Redenbacher popcorn brand to its spot as the top popcorn brand in the U.S.

Later, Harris worked in the banking and finance industry for several years as a senior executive before moving to Houston in 1982, where he became president and eventually CEO of Southwest Management and Marketing Co.

In 2004 Harris sold his company and retired. He now serves as a managing partner of the Harris Investment Partnership, specializing in venture capital investments including specialty foods, residential real estate, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and other projects.

Harris’ professional accolades include listings in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest.

Harris also has scholarships at three other universities, the University of Mississippi where he received his bachelor's degree, Northwood University where he served on their board of trustees and the University of Colorado where his late wife, Venita, received her bachelor's degree and served on their Economics Department Advisory Board.

Harris has long been active in civic and charitable activities. He has served on the boards of a multitude of nonprofit organizations, including The Kidney Foundation, Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.


Elizabeth Eaton
E. J. Ourso College of Business