Harry Alford III, the co-founder of a D.C.-based venture development firm, and an adjunct professor at UMD, was named Interim Director of the university’s Southern Management Leadership Program in July.

Alford received his bachelor’s degree from the Department of African American Studies at UMD in 2007 and has built a career centered on supporting diverse entrepreneurs and driving innovation opportunities. Most recently, Alford co-founded Humble Ventures, which accelerates diverse startups. At the same time, he has been teaching “Strategies for Innovation and Entrepreneurship” in the Southern Management Leadership Program.  

The Southern Management Leadership Program supports and develops students who have an interest in entrepreneurship and an enthusiasm for starting a business venture, leading a company, or changing the world. Through mentorship, guidance, and scholarship support, the program aims to identify, encourage, and graduate ethical leaders who want to energize and give back to their local communities.

Alford succeeds SMLP director Gül Branco, who commented: “It has been such a pleasure working with Harry in the past few years. I am confident that under his innovative and visionary leadership, the SMLP and its students will continue to flourish.”

Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies William A. Cohen commended Branco for her exemplary leadership of the program since 2014, and added: “Harry Alford’s proven success in nurturing achievement and driving venture development inclusivity will help bring students an extra step closer to creating new ideas, new companies, and new opportunities. He will build on the close connections he already has with many of our students and faculty.”

While earning his bachelor’s degree, Alford played goalie for the University of Maryland Men’s Lacrosse team and eventually went on to play lacrosse professionally. He holds an MA in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University and an MBA from Babson College.

Alford’s previous experiences include managing day-to-day operations and program management for an incubator focused on veteran-owned startups and building a sports e-commerce startup into a profitable business.

“I’m excited to hit the ground running in this new position,” said Alford. “My instructional work with Southern Management Leadership students has been deeply gratifying, and I look forward to taking that involvement to the next level as Interim Director.”

For more than a decade, the Southern Management Leadership Program has helped develop local community leaders through a scholarship and intensive mentoring program at Prince George’s Community College, Montgomery College, and the University of Maryland. The program was founded by Suzanne Hillman (President and CEO of Southern Management Corporation), the late David Hillman, and their family as a way to enrich the education of students in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. 

Story republished with the permission of Laura Cech, Assistant Director of Communications and Web Development for the Office of Undergraduate Studies at UMD.

Harry Alford III