Honoring Nick Harris, U-M Class of 1975

Today I’ll be attending the memorial service in Austin, Texas, for my friend and U-M classmate Nick Harris. Nick was from Detroit, a proud graduate of Cass Technical High School. At U-M, Nick was a key figure in our small band of black engineering students. He projected confidence, and was gregarious – the quintessential Big Man On Campus. Nick and I butted heads sometimes, because I too was vying for that title. I was not short on self-confidence in those days, but I admired Nick for his fearlessness and social prowess. His confidence radiated and supplied power to our little band as we negotiated the always difficult, sometimes hostile University of Michigan College of Engineering.

Last week, Nick lost a long battle with Lewy body dementia. Over the past few years, Nick reached out to me and other classmates to tell us what he was experiencing. His decline was frustrating and aggravating to him because he didn’t want to be a burden to his family – especially to his wife, Juliana. He struggled to hold onto his identity – that of a proud, capable engineer and leader, but toward the end he realized that he couldn’t.

Later this morning, we’ll be honoring Nick. I flew down to Austin yesterday with our engineering classmate and friend Earl Howard, and our classmate Ellis Adger met us at the airport after flying in from Miami. It will be a day of sadness, but I’m sure we’ll be remembering Nick’s lively spirit and our time as youthful strivers at U-M.

Me (r) and Nick during our defiant days at University of Michigan. (photo courtesy Ellis Adger)

If you would like to view the memorial service for Nick, which takes place at 10:30 this morning, June 29, please follow this link:

Honoring Nick

Nick’s family has asked that, in lieu of flowers or other material gifts, those wishing to honor Nick’s memory can make a contribution to the U-M Multicultural Engineering Program Office Endowment. This is an endowment fund to facilitate the recruitment, retention, and graduation of minority students through the development of academic excellence, personal growth, and professionalism, and to promote continued achievement after graduation through an alumni network. Please follow this link to make a contribution. No amount is too small or too large.

U-M “Young Lions:” Nick, me, Earl Howard, Ellis Adger

2 thoughts on “Honoring Nick Harris, U-M Class of 1975

  1. This is a wonderful, beautiful tribute to my uncle . Shows just how loved, admired and truly missed he is . Thank you

  2. David – thanks for sharing this wonderful testimony of your friend, Nick.

    May he rest in peace as his legacy lives on through you and so many others.

    You continue to inspire.

    With Gratitude,

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