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Harry Morgan Named Allegany College of Maryland’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni

November 23rd, 2023 by WCBC Radio

Harry A. Morgan is the fifth recipient of the Allegany College of Maryland Distinguished Alumni Award. He was presented with the award during a reception and tour of the college earlier this year. Morgan is a 33-year member of the advisory council for ACM’s automotive technology program.  

Morgan is a 1980 graduate of the college’s automotive technology program. He is a certified Master Automotive Technician and Advance Level Diagnostics by the Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (1981-present) and was a finalist for the NAPA ASE Technician of the Year in 2002. Morgan received the NAPA ASE Technician of the Year honors for the Altoona District for three consecutive years beginning in 2000. He holds an advance teaching certificate for the State of Maryland. In 1990, he joined the advisory committee for ACM’s automotive technology program.  

Morgan is a retired automotive technology instructor with Allegany County Public Schools and a former small business owner. For nine of his 14 years as an educator, he split his time between teaching high school juniors and seniors at the Center for Career and Technical Education and running a successful automotive repair business, the Morgan Auto Clinic.  

Morgan’s successful career nearly wasn’t.  

Morgan knew he wanted to be an automotive technician after graduating from Beall High School in 1976. He grew up riding dirt bikes which led to his interest in cars and ultimately a desire to fix both. His father, Gomer, talked Morgan out of the auto tech program. “My dad was a factory worker who grew up on a farm. He didn’t want to see me as a mechanic,” said Morgan during a visit to the college.  

Morgan enrolled as a forest technology major at ACM in 1976. He met Sharon, his spouse, shortly thereafter. His interest in Sharon remained but his interest in forestry waned. Within a few semesters, he began to struggle with his forestry course work. “I just stopped enjoying going to class,” Morgan explained, who can relate to apathetic students.  

He changed his major and took control of his future. The automotive technology program’s garage and classrooms became his second home. “The instructors in the auto tech program challenged Harry and encouraged him to become a master technician,” said Sharon.  

Morgan fondly remembers the combination of Rex Johnson and Wally Walker in the auto tech program. “They were a great combination; Rex taught you the theory and Walley taught you common sense,” Morgan said. Instructors like Joe Weaver and Norm Kelly also stand out.  

After graduation, Morgan continued to work in new car inspection and predelivery for Spoerl’s Pontiac/Cadillac in Cumberland. (He took the position in 1979.) He founded the Auto Clinic in 1981 with Gomer as a three-bay garage in Cresaptown. By 1989, they bought the former Western Maryland lumberyard building in Bowling Green and renovated it to include a 10-bay garage with office space and a waiting area. The son-father duo grew a profitable, respected automotive business. Morgan owned and operated the business until 2016 when he sold it to one of his employees.  

He’s given back to his community.  

Morgan’s ties to the western Maryland community include his lifelong commitment to community service. As a parent of two sons, Mathew and Adam, he coached a team in the Bi-State Little League in Short Gap, West Virginia, from 1989-1997. He served as president of the Short Gap Primary School PTA for the 1993 academic year.  

Morgan began volunteering for the Boy Scouts of America in 1990 and has served as a den leader, cubmaster, and scoutmaster. He is a vigil member of the Order of the Arrow, an honor society for the Boy Scouts of America. He trained for and became a wood badge course leader. Morgan received a Silver Beaver Award, which is the highest recognition a local council can give to a volunteer leader, in 2004 from the Potomac Council BSA.  

In addition to his work with the BSA, Morgan is a member of Mountain Lodge #99 in Frostburg. As a freemason, he’s served as a worshipful master for his local lodge, and he is a past grand inspector for Grand Lodge of Maryland. He received the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Award in 2014 for serving as role model to members of the BSA.  

Morgan is a champion for students.  

As a member of ACM’s program advisory council for the automotive technology program, Morgan offers guidance and a unique educator/entrepreneur perspective.  

“Around the same time that Harry began teaching the auto tech program at CCTE, he moved into the position as president of our program advisory council. He served flawlessly for nearly 15 years as a bridge between ACM and CCTE. Harry remains a valued member of the local automotive community,” said Ray Hunt, director of the college’s auto tech program.  

Morgan is an annual sponsor of the Gomer Morgan Memorial Scholarship for a Center for Career and Technical Education students pursuing post-secondary automotive technology degrees.  

His impact on the lives of those he taught at CCTE cannot be understated. During Morgan’s visit to campus to receive his award, he ran into one of his former students who is enrolled in ACM’s auto tech program and pursuing their two-year degree.  

He embraces opportunities for growth at home and abroad.  

Morgan isn’t one for down time. He retired in June of 2022 following Sharon’s retirement from her position as principal of Flintstone Elementary School in January of 2021. The couple enjoy traveling and spending time with their family. Morgan is a certified scuba diver and travels the globe in search of great dive spots, from Bonaire in the Caribbean to the Figi Islands.  

He was presented with the award during a reception and tour of the college. He splits his time between his homes in Ridgeley, West Virginia, and Sarasota, Florida.