2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Congratulations to Larry Sisson ('85) our 2016 Distinguished Alumnus award recipient.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes Harding Academy graduates who have enhanced the reputation of Harding Academy through their professional and community leadership and their advancement of Harding Academy’s mission.

Our Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for 2016 began his journey at Harding Academy in the second grade, and he’s been a devoted Lion ever since.  It is no surprise to those that know him that he was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and voted “Happiest” by the senior class of 1985. However, what may come as a surprise to some is that this alumnus was selected as the football “lineman of the week” every week of his senior season.     
After Harding Academy, he graduated from Lipscomb University and the Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law. He met his future wife on a blind date in 1990, and they married the following year. They have two children who entered Harding in kindergarten. Their son graduated in 2013 and attends Lipscomb University. Their daughter—our current SGA president—will graduate in May and plans to attend Pepperdine University.

He serves as a deacon at the Church of Christ at White Station where he has taught Sunday school classes and is an active Youth Ministry volunteer. He is best described as a joyful servant leader, one who is always dependable and never seeks the limelight.

His leadership extends to his business life as well. As the COO of TESCO and President of TESCO Properties, Inc., he was honored in January with the Business Partner of the Year Award. In March, the Affordable Housing Management Association named him the National Affordable Housing Advocate of the Year.

He was an exceptional student while at Harding Academy and has been a generous and active alumnus. He and his wife have faithfully donated their time and resources—they have chaperoned numerous band and class trips, sold more than their share of Chilitos and cheesecake, and rarely miss a band concert, cross country meet, tennis match, or school-wide event. In addition to being a faithful sponsor, he recently won his age group in Harding’s Happy in Memphis 5K.

However, his commitment to Harding Academy is not surprising if you know his family. Where he comes from, supporting Harding is a life-long, multi-generational, family tradition. He is one of 15 members of his family who have graduated from Harding. Each year, his family recognizes and honors outstanding Harding faculty and staff members at the year-end dinner.

His father was a leader in Memphis and Shelby County government who was a strong voice for Harding Academy in our city. His mother served on Harding Academy’s Board of Directors for many years and is here tonight as a past recipient of the Esprit de Corps Award.  She continues to be a much beloved and active supporter of Harding Academy, and I know she will approve of this year’s award recipient.