Executive Chair, Summit Group; Former Trustee; Philanthropist
Michael Harper grew up in northwest Washington, DC, and graduated in 1971 from St. John’s College High School. He then received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1975. After graduation, he worked as a sales representative in the upper Midwest area for the Prince Gardner Leather Goods Company. After three years with Prince Gardner, Mike moved back to the DC area to join his father, John Harper, in the family business, Warren & Harper Advertising.
Before moving back to DC, Mike married Deborah Smith of St. Cloud, Minnesota. They have four children: Michael, Patrick ’99, Sean ’02 and Jacquelyn ’04.
In 1978, Mike began working as an account executive for Warren & Harper Advertising, and upon his father’s retirement in 1988, he became the CEO of the company. In partnership with his brother, Denis Harper ’75, and Mark Becker, and through a series of acquisitions and mergers, they have built the company, now named Summit Group, into one of the largest companies in the branded merchandise and recognition industries. Summit Group has 160 associates with offices in Silver Spring, Atlanta, Chicago and Portsmouth, NH.
Throughout his career, Mike has given of his time to several non-profit organizations, including Catholic Youth Organization, Valley Brook Citizens Association and Chesapeake Promotional Products Association.
For 10 years, Mike dedicated his time, talent and treasure as a St. John’s College High School trustee. Mike’s passion for St. John’s and the Christian Brothers inspired him to lead a campaign to establish the Brother Timothy Dean Scholarship Fund. Through his efforts and the generosity of many of his classmates and other alumni, this fund plays a crucial role in providing opportunities for students to attend St. John’s.