Vice Admiral Harms is a native of central Illinois and a distinguished alumnus of the University of Illinois. Following graduation and commissioning through the Naval ROTC program in June 1971, he served around the world in a career that spanned over three decades. Vice Admiral Harms also completed graduate studies in Statistics at Texas A&M University, advanced military studies at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, and an MBA from the University of Illinois. Upon transition from active military service in early 2005, Vice Admiral Harms moved to the Orlando area where he joined the senior leadership team at the University of Central Florida—one of the largest universities in the nation. He served in multiple key roles at the university from July 2005 through December 2013, including Vice-President for Strategy, Marketing, Communications and Admissions, and Special Assistant to the President. Vice Admiral Harms assumed the Presidency of Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida in December 2017, and also serves on various advisory boards for academic, scientific, corporate and philanthropic organizations across the country.
Vice Admiral Harms’ active military service encompassed numerous sea and shore assignments, including command of VA-75…a carrier-based A-6 Intruder squadron, USS Shreveport (LPD-12)…an amphibious transport ship supporting U.S. Marines, and USS Nimitz (CVN-68)…the lead ship of the nation’s largest class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Following completion of the U.S. Navy’s Test Pilot School, he served as an Advanced Technology Flight Test Officer at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland. His Flag (General Officer) assignments included Commander, Carrier Strike Group THREE during combat operations in Southwest Asia; Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Director, Assessment Division (N81), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In his final active duty assignment, Vice Admiral Harms commanded the Naval Education and Training Command from 2001-2005 where he served as the Navy’s Chief Learning Officer.
Vice Admiral Harms and Gina, his wife of 50 years, have four grown children, ten grandchildren and currently reside in central Florida.
To learn more about Lake Highland’s President, check out this student interview highlighting Admiral Harms. This Q&A was used to craft an article called “Operation Admiral Harms” in LHPS’s student newspaper, The Twice-Told Tale.