Rufus Carrrollton Harris

Person Sheet


Name Rufus Carrrollton Harris
Birth 2 Jan 1897, Walton Co., GA
Death 18 Aug 1988, Macon, Bibb Co., GA
Father Virgil Vascar Harris (1865-1945)
Mother Jesse R. Green (1873-1950)
Spouses
1 Mary Louise Walker
Birth 25 May 1896, Griffin, Georgia
Death 9 Jun 1981, Macon, Bibb Co., GA
Marriage 23 Jun 1918, Waco, Texas
Children Rufus Carrollton , Jr.
Joseph Henry Walker
Living
Notes for Rufus Carrrollton Harris
Macon Telegraph and News, Aug 19, 1988 p. 1 Former Mercerpresident, Rufus Harris, dead at 91 Rufus Carrollton Harris,president of Mercer University from 1960 to 1979, died Thursdayin a Macon hospital. He was 91. Haris' career as a collegeadministrator spanned 56 years. He served almost half of thattime at the Baptist-affiliated university, first as dean of thelaw school and later as president. His 19-year tenure aspresident was the second longest term in Mercer's history, "Avery, very great and good man has been taken away from us," saidW. A. Bootle, a retired federal judge, who served on Mercer'sboard of trustees during Harris' tenure. "He's meant a wholelot to Mercer University and to higher education throughout thenation." During the 1960s, Harris faced two of the mostcontroversial issues ever to confront Mercer. One issue wasracial integration. Despite opposition from political andreligious conservatives, Harris urged trustees a year before the1964 Civil Rights Act required them to do so. Harris was alsoinstrumental in convincing the Georgia Baptist Convention toallow Mercer to seek federal loans and grants for constructionprojects. At the time, some Baptist leaders feared suchpractice would violate the doctrine of separation of church andstate. "He was a strong-willed leader," said Joseph M.Hendricks, who was Harris' general assistant from 1973 to 1979."He was one of these people who took a position and stood thereuntil it prevailed." Another longtime associate also rememberedHarrris as a strong leader whose national reputation in highereducation brought recognition to Mercer. "He was an outstandingeducator and president of Mercer University," said C. AlbertStruby, a Mercer trustee and former publisher of The MaconTelegraph and The Macon News. "My first year as chairman of theboard of trustees was under Dr, Harris. His longtimeexperience, complete dedication and devoted interest to Mercermade him one of the most effective presidents Mercer ever had."R. Kirby Godsey, who became Mercer's president when Harrisstepped down in 1979, issued a statement Thursday calling hispredecessor "a remarkable statesman of higher education. Dr.Harris believed that a university's commitment to academicquality was its most important measure of achievement." Harrisreceived his undergraduate degree from Mercer in 1917 and laterearned two law degrees from Yale University. He was dean ofMercer's law school from 1923 to 1927, when he left to becomedean of the law school at Tulane University in New Orleans. Hebecame president of Tulane in 1937, serving until 1959. Hereturned to Mercer in 1960 to become the university's 16thpresident. Under his leadership, Mercer added three new schools,tripled its enrollment and increased its budget from $1 milionto $21 million. Harris resigned in 1979, citing his age - 82 atthe time - as the main reason. He was replaaced by Godsey, whowas promoted from his position as executive vice president ofthe university. When he resigned, Harris was appointed Mercer'sfirst chancellor, a position described at the time as"executive and advisory." Macon Telegraph and News. Aug 20,1988 Rufus C. Harris, Sr., 91, of 1309 Adams St. died Thursdayin a local hospital. Services will be held at 10 a.m. today inRest Haven Cemetery in Monroe. Memorial services will be at 2:30p.m. Monday in Newton Sanctuary at Mercer University in Macon.R. Kirby Godsey and the Revs. Joseph M. Hendricks and Harold L.McManus, Charles E. Poole and Albert L. Cardwell willofficiate. Mr. Harris was former president of Mercer for almost20 years and had been chancellor of the university since 1979.He was a professor of law and dean of Mercer Law School from1923 until 1927 and served as dean of Tulane University Schoolof Law from 1927 until 1937. He was president of TulaneUniversity from 1937 until 1959, returning to Macon to becomethe 16th president of Mercer University until 1979. Mr. Harrisreceived a bachelor of arts degree from Mercer in 1917, abachelor of laws degree from Yale University in 1923 and jurisdoctor degree from Yale in 1924. He also held 15 honorarydegrees. He was a member and former chairman of the CarnegieFoundation Board of Trustees, chairman of Marshall ScholarshipCommittee of the Southern Region, and was president of theCouncil of Southern Universities and the Southern UniversityConference. He was chairman of the board of directors ofFederal Reserve Bank of Atlanta from 1953 until 1956, serving onthat board for 18 years. Survivors include three sons, Rufus C.Harris, Jr. and Louie C. Harris, both of New Orleans, La., andDr. J.H. Walker Harris of Columbus. Arthur Bowick FuneralDirectors in Monroe has charge of arrangements.
Notes for Mary Louise (Spouse 1)
Mrs. Rufus C. Harris, of 1309 Adams st,. wife of the chancellorof Mercer University, died Tuesday at her home. Gravesideservices will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Rest havenCemetery in Monroe. The Rev. Henry J. Stokes will officiate.Mrs. Harris, the former Mary Louise Walker, a native of Monroe,was a graduate of Shorter College. She was the daughter of thelate Joseph Henry Walker and Sarah Louise Barber Walker ofMonroe. Mrs. Harris had lived in Macon since 1960 when herhusband became president of Mercer University, a position heheld until July, 1979, when he became chancellor of theuniversity. A member of the First Baptist Church in Macon, Mrs.Harris also had been active in the First Baptist Church inMonroe and in St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.She was a member of the Macon Town Committee of the ColonialDames of America, the Mary Hammond Washington Chapter of theDaughters of the American Revolution, the United daughters ofthe Confederacy and the Ruth McEnery Stuart Clan in NewOrleans. Mrs. Harris was also a member of the History Club ofMacon, the Vineville Garden Club, Le Petit Salon of New Orleans,the Orleans Club of New Orleans, the Mercer University Women'sClub, the Middle Georgia Historical Society, the AmericanAssociation of University Women and the Tulane UniversityWomen's Club. Survivors include her husband, Rufus C. Harris ofMacon; a brother, J. Henry Walker of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; threesons, Rufus C. Harris,Jr. and Loui Kontz Harris, both of NewOrleans, La., Joseph Henry Walker Harris of Columbus; 10grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. The family will beat the family home, 308 McDaniel St.
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