Robert “Bob” Harp, Executive Director of Biola’s Office of Innovation and longtime Crowell School of Business faculty member, passed away July 17, 2020. An online “celebration of life” will be held on August 11 at 4 p.m.
Harp’s substantial legacy is found not only in the many creative and innovative programs and organizations he started, but most truly in the students whose lives he touched, uplifted and shaped. One of these students is Ashley Moschetti, a 2019 business management graduate, Praxis Academy graduate, co-founder of the Biola Entrepreneurship Society, and now an Area Manager at Amazon. Here, Ashley shares what Harp meant to her and to all his students.
Thank you for instilling a sense of confidence in me and for helping me find my strengths. Thank you for exemplifying servant leadership, for showing me how to really listen to people, and most of all thank you for always keeping me on track, and reminding me of my true purpose. I pray that one day I may have the same kind of impact on a mentee that you have had on me.
You instilled confidence in me. I remember once you asked me for my bio and replied to my email with what you called a ‘revised’ bio. This revised bio was about twice as long as the original and revealed what seemed to be an accomplished and bold young woman. This bio was one that a more confident “me” would have written. Just by that small act, you showed me that you believed in me, and that maybe I should believe in myself. That was just one example of the many times you encouraged me to hold my head up high and walk with confidence, unafraid of the future.
You helped me both find and develop my strengths. You would always find ways to get me out of my comfort zone so that I could develop as a leader. I remember one time you asked me to lead a conference call with some important people. As a young college student, this seemed very intimidating. I don’t remember all the details of the call but what I do remember is that after the call ended, you called me back to say that you were proud. You didn’t need to do that, and I am sure the conference call wasn’t that amazing, but your words of affirmation had a big impact on me. I would never know that several years later I would be able to lead much bigger conference calls with poise and confidence. Thank you.
You showed me what it meant to be a leader of kindness, hope and compassion. Every single day you showed up for your life. You were present, engaged, and eager to live out each day for the glory of God. You would greet each person with a friendly smile, making them feel important and seen. In fact, it often took you hours to walk across campus because everyone wanted to talk with you. Your conversations were never wasted — they always brought good fruit. People looked up to you, they respected you and valued your wisdom. You treated each person as if they were a CEO. You didn’t care about their resume or how much money they made. You found their value just in the fact that they were made in the image and likeness of God. I hope that I can be a leader like you — one who is slow to speak and slow to get angry, a leader who is always kind and compassionate, a leader seeking to build up others and not tear them down.
You showed me how to really listen to people: You changed the lives of so many people simply because you made the choice to listen to their ideas with both your ears and your heart. And for young people, that can make all the difference in choosing to step out and take a risk, or choosing to wave off an idea. I watched the countless times people would come into your office and talk about their dreams and aspirations. You would always listen, dropping everything to give them your full attention. But you wouldn’t stop there; you truly believed in these people and in their dreams. Each and every person would leave your office with new contacts, new ideas, and the biggest smile. Finally, someone had really heard them, and not only that, but someone believed in them.
You reminded me constantly to remember my true purpose. I remember how Kingdom-focused you were. You constantly looked for ways to reach out to the community, and even other countries, to share the truth of Christ and introduce people to Biola. You would always remind me that, as Christians, business is our mission and that entrepreneurs get to use their God-given creativity to have a Kingdom impact on this world. You may not have left the world with any of your favorite books or CDs, but you left a big impact on so many lives. Your footprint will be on the path of many new Christ-serving businesses; it will be on the path of those who become pastors, doctors, professional athletes, artists, scientists, actors and so many more. Thank you for believing in us and pushing us to leave our comfort zone so that we may have an impact on this world.
I am sorry that I am telling you this a little too late. The truth is, I never could have imagined you leaving us this early. I thought I would be able to pick up the phone and call and ask for your advice or wisdom on a topic. I thought you would always be there in the office when I stopped by to say hello. I thought you would be there for the big milestones in my career. But I promise that I will not forget all that you have taught me: I will stand strong on my faith, I will remember to believe in myself, and, most of all, I promise to believe in those around me.
You will be dearly missed by so many. I cannot wait to see you in heaven.
Rest in peace, Dr. Robert Harp.