John B. Harcourt began his tenure at Ithaca College in 1953, joining the newly created English Department and remaining until his retirement in 1985. During his time at IC, he served as faculty member of the Board of Trustees and was active in the foundation of the United Christian Fellowship. In 1982, John received the Alumni Meritorious Service Award, and the following year was named Honorary Alumnus. As author of The Ithaca College Story, he was appointed College Historian in 1984. John was a charter member of Ithaca College's chapter of the national honor society Phi Beta Kappa, and a past president of the organization. Each year a scholarship is awarded in his name.
John was born in Providence, RI and attended Brown University, earning his A.B., Master's degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the institution. In the Ithaca Community, he was a member of St. John's Church and served as vestryman and member of the church school faculty. He also participated with the Tompkins County Chapter of the American Red Cross and served a term as chapter chairman.
Justin G. Schiller, a 1965 graduate, remembers his years at Ithaca College: “They prepared me for my future career as a rare books specialist, mostly under the tutelage of Dr. John Harcourt. These were special years where Dr. Harcourt guided my own work and research in studying William Shakespeare, and for this I will be forever grateful to Ithaca College."