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Olin Distinguished Visiting Engineer Honored with Prestigious Alumni Award

Scott Harris, a distinguished visiting engineer at Olin College, has been inducted into the WPI Hall of Luminaries.

Harris co-founded two leading design automation software companies, SolidWorks Corporation and Onshape Inc. He led the teams that specified and designed software for mechanical engineering and industrial design. Both companies have been acquired.  

Harris graduated from WPI in 1982. During the recent Hall of Luminaries ceremony, Harris was described as a thought leader and computer-aided design visionary.

“I’m still processing it all. I felt quite honored to be among the select people who have been inducted, including rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard and inventor Dean Kamen,” said Harris.

For the past ten years, Harris has been a regular presence on Olin’s campus. Harris first learned about Olin College from an Olin student in 2007. He was so intrigued by the school that he reached out to Olin faculty and began teaching classes. In the past ten years, Harris has mentored SCOPE teams, and he recently helped launch an entrepreneurship capstone at Olin. The yearlong program is designed to allow students to spend their senior year developing an idea or product, including immersing themselves in customer discovery and persona development, needed components of a successful company.

Although Harris is nominally retired, he remains active in mentoring underserved communities. He helped develop and advised the Rwanda Innovation Endowment Fund, a United Nations-sponsored program that helps Rwandan entrepreneurs build solid companies. 

Harris currently serves as chairman of the Science & Technology Advisory Council at Discovery Museum in Acton, Massachusetts. He is also an active member and a former board member of the Central Massachusetts Search & Rescue Team, and a mentor-in-residence at WPI.