San Luis Obispo

Known for his engineering acumen and leadership in management, Charles L. “Chuck” Harrington serves as chairman, chief executive officer and president of Parsons Corporation, an engineering, construction, technical and management services company operating in 29 countries.

After spending his youth in a rice farming family in Northern California, Mr. Harrington enrolled in California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo to study agricultural engineering.  He graduated magna cum laude in 1981.  Mr. Harrington continued his education at University of California Los Angeles, where he earned an MBA, and by attending an Advanced Management Program at Duke University.

Mr. Harrington joined Parsons in 1982.  With his broad educational background, he was well suited to work on projects in a range of markets such as oil and gas, biotechnology and communications.  He took on increasingly complex programs for government and industrial clients, then established Parsons Commercial Technology Group.  As president, he grew the business unit into a $900 million, 3,500-employee organization.

In 2006, Mr. Harrington was named executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Parsons Corporation.  The board of directors of the firm unanimously appointed Mr. Harrington to the post of chairman in 2008.

Mr. Harrington shares his management expertise, serving on the boards of directors for AES Corporation, an international energy company, and the multi-faceted agricultural organization, J.G. Boswell Company.  He is also a trustee of the California Science Center and has served on several non-profit boards.

A registered professional mechanical engineer, Mr. Harrington was honored with an Industry Recognition Award by the New York Building Congress and a membership to the National Academy of Construction, both in 2015.  Mr. Harrington remains active with Cal Poly by serving on the Cal Poly Foundation’s Board of Directors.  He was chairman of the Cal Poly President’s Council of Advisors for seven years.

In recognition of his dedication to the field of engineering and his management leadership, and for his continuing service to Cal Poly and other organizations, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo are proud to confer upon Charles L. Harrington the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.