Charles Harbaugh IV ’09, ’11 decided to come to Shenandoah because location was very important to him. He developed a very close relationship with former Dean of the School of Business Miles Davis, Ph.D., after taking a course with him. Dr. Davis was a driving force in Harbaugh’s election to the Middletown Town Council in 2010. He also offered support and encouraging words of wisdom to help Harbaugh reach his full potential. Harbaugh developed a relationship with Professor of Business Law John Winn as well and said, “He’s been magnificent over the years and has stayed in touch,” said Harbaugh. He has been able to learn a lot from these close relationships with his professors.
In 2012, Harbaugh was the youngest mayor to be elected in Virginia history, at the age of 24. He is now serving his third term as mayor in Middletown, Virginia, after the 2020 election. “Middletown is rich in history with a climatic Civil War battle being fought there and now we are the home of Laurel Ridge Community College and several growing, thriving businesses,” said Harbaugh.
Harbaugh is also the CEO of Access Independence, Inc, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities, with over 500 clients in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. In addition to his roles as Mayor and CEO, he is also an adjunct business professor at Laurel Ridge Community College and broadcasts Shenandoah University football and basketball games.
“Shenandoah gave me the business acumen to succeed in business from a global standpoint,” said Harbaugh.
Harbaugh’s advice for future students is: “To live dual lives and to do multiple things. While you are going to school also work a part-time job and learn job and life skills.”