Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

Mizzou Business News

Harry M. Cornell, Jr. Honored as 2019 AACSB Influential Leader

Fourth annual initiative recognizes 33 business school graduates creating lasting impact in the world.

The Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business announces that alum Harry M. Cornell, Jr. is one of 33 business school graduates honored by AACSB International (AACSB)—the world’s largest business education alliance—as the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders. The annual challenge recognizes notable alumni from AACSB-accredited schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.

Harry currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of Leggett & Platt, Inc., which he built from a small regional company into a Fortune 500 manufacturing giant. The grandson of a founder of Leggett & Platt, Cornell joined the company in sales in 1950 and rose through the ranks to become president and CEO in 1960. Over the next 52 years, he transformed Leggett & Platt from five plants and 7 million USD in annual sales into a 4 billion USD company with 130 plants in 18 countries.

Harry conceptualized and funds the highly selective Cornell Leadership Program (CLP) at the University of Missouri. The CLP provides scholarships and a specially designed program that takes business school students beyond the traditional classroom experience. CLP students are offered several unique opportunities such as the ability to travel abroad to locations like Nicaragua, Ireland, Cuba, and Chile to learn about international businesses while giving back to local communities. They also take corporate trips, receive mentoring from alumni and upper-level business students, and participate in a leadership seminar to develop their business acumen. Graduates of the CLP are working at top Wall Street firms, excelling in professional schools, and being recognized by leading U.S. business media.

Harry and his wife, Erin, have supported a number of philanthropic endeavors over the years and provided the region with a level of generosity and commitment to service. He has served on multiple boards in the community and at the University of Missouri. The couple’s giving to the University of Missouri totals over 11 million USD. They have also given generously to the Freeman Health System and the Joplin Campus of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

“AACSB is honored to recognize Harry Cornell and congratulates the Trulaske College of Business for its role in preparing alumni who are leading examples of business education as a force for good in the world,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB. “The diversity of backgrounds, industries, and career paths of the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders demonstrates that AACSB-accredited schools are preparing graduates to succeed wherever their passions may take them.”

Now its fourth year, the Influential Leaders challenge has recognized almost 200 business school graduates, including fellow Trulaske alum Sam Walton, for creating lasting impact in business and society. All honorees are have earned an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree from one of the more than 800 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide. For more information on the Influential Leaders challenge, and to view a full list of honorees, visit



About AACSB International

As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB International (AACSB) connects educators, students, and business to achieve a common goal: to create the next generation of great leaders. Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to more than 1,600 member organizations and over 800 accredited business schools worldwide. AACSB’s mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. The global organization has offices located in Tampa, Florida, USA; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Singapore. For more information, visit