Dr. Harter Steps into Retirement

Harter WayYears ago, when the campus first bustled with ambitious students, a large blanket of grass separated the upper half of Touro University California (TUC) from its classrooms and faculty directly below. 

Walking between Wilderman and Lander Halls meant detouring by the Mare Island Hospital wing or worse, ambling on the grass. But all that changed in 2011, thanks to Dr. Michael Harter, Senior Provost and CEO of the Touro Western Division and his vision. 

Although the genesis to create a staircase between the upper and lower campus was discussed more than 10 years ago by TUC faculty and staff, it was Dr. Harter who played an instrumental role in implementing the 113 bleach white steps between the buildings. 

So it was an appropriate move by TUC to name this pathway, “Harter Way,” a signal of and tribute to Dr. Harter’s determination and on the occasion off his recent retirement announcement. 

“It’s Dr. Harter’s way to build connections – among TUC faculty, staff and students, between TUC and TUN and between the Western Division and TCNY,” said Julia Welch, Director of Information Technology. “Harter’s Way was to build consensus on issues and he taught us that doing so helped us to the right thing so we learned that what’s good for the campus is good for all of us.” 

More than 30 faculty and staff members gathered on June 17th by the impressionable steps as Dr. Hopkins ceremoniously unveiled two street signs appropriately displaying “Harter Way,” each planted firmly at the top and bottom of the steps. 

Within moments, and as if in procession, the group made its way to Farragut Inn’s Ballroom where a “Bon Voyage” soiree was held in honor of his retirement. Strikingly decorated tables donned spirited “Face-in-the-Hole” cards of Dr. Harter in various scenarios. Live music played in the room as laughter, mingling, and memories filled the air. 

A plethora of TUC faculty and staff gathered to pay their adieu’s with heartfelt words and lasting memories. 

“It’s been a privilege to work with him. He brought a renewed sense of confidence to the campus,” said Dr. Marilyn Hopkins, Provost and COO of Touro University California. “He has a deep understanding of the teaching process, has wonderful attributes, and has a passion for doing things right.” 

Dr. Alejandro Gugliucci, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, expressed similar sentiments. 

“I’ve been here for 16 years and I’ve seen it all. We really didn’t have a University feel until Drs. Harter and Hopkins came on campus,” said Dr. Gugliucci.  “I found Dr. Harter to be a person I can talk to who is honest, finds answers, and leads us to the right solution.”

Dr. Jim O’Connor, Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, endearingly discussed Dr. Harter’s humble beginnings and various accolades received throughout the years. 

“Mike has a career any of us would envy. Not only is he a wonderful administrator but also a great human being,” Dr. O’Connor said. 

Dr. Harter, who appeared heartened by the recognition and kind words, gave his thanks to a packed audience and capped his speech with words of encouragement. 

“I leave you in good hands and in really good condition and this happened as a result of team work,” he said. “I want to thank you for the five years you’ve given me. I will think of you in the future.” 

Dr. Harter joined Touro University Nevada in 2004 and exercised a leadership role in creating six new schools in a five-year period. In 2008, he was named Senior Provost and Chief Executive Officer of the Western Division to head both the Nevada and California campuses. His leadership has been instrumental in establishing both campuses as prominent institutions in health sciences and education.

Before joining Touro in 2004, Dr. Harter served as vice dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, where he was president of the Practice Corporation and managed both undergraduate and graduate medical education programs. He has more than three decades of experience in higher education, including 14 years as dean and professor. As founding executive director of Family Development Programs, Inc. of Ohio, he is also experienced in the development and operation of primary care centers and services to children and families.

Dr. Harter’s extensive record of research, publication and instruction has included work in health care finance, health planning, contemporary issues in health care and health aspects of aging. He has also been a devoted advocate for a variety of community service organizations, including positions with the Board of Directors of the United Way Capital Region in California; the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board serving Ohio’s Athens, Hocking and Vinton Counties; and the Southern Nevada Area Health Education Center.