The MS Academy of Sciences is one of the most active of its type in the United States and has existed for over 80 years in recognizing excellence covering thirteen areas of mathematics, sciences, and the social sciences. "These are our state's leading researchers and academicians, and to be held in such esteem and be recognized for one's life work is a feeling that is hard to put into words," said Harris.
What made the award even more special was the fact he was presented the award by one of his former students, Dr. Ken Butler, who according to Harris, "has gone on to be one of the state's leading scientists in dealing with issues of the aging brain and who is Associate Professor and ARIC Study Project Director within the Division of Geriatrics and working with the MIND Center at UMMC."
"To have had a small part in preparing him for his future career while he was still working early on in his undergraduate education gives me great satisfaction that myself, along with the other wonderful instructors at Holmes, saw his great potential and aided in its development," Harris said of Butler, who took FORTRAN programming under Dr. Harris. "To now have him as a friend and colleague and to be honored by his presentation of the award to me is very overwhelming especially since he is the acting President of the MS Academy of Sciences.
"Now that I am about to retire after 32 years of service at Holmes, I am able to look back at my educational career from a different perspective and see how many wonderful students, faculty, and staff with whom I have come into contact."
According to Dr. Harris' nomination letter from the MAS, "The board viewed your service to teaching computer science with distinction in a number of capacities including length of service in a science or mathematics discipline, significant service in an underserved or disadvantaged area of the state, and an outstanding reputation as an educator among students and peers, as well as, in recognition of a long history of excellence in teaching, communication, professionalism, high expectations of students, and leadership."
"At the end of one's career, who could possibly ask for a better vote of confidence for a life's work than that," said Dr. Harris.
He hails from both Jackson and Crystal Springs, and his hobbies include spending time with family and friends, attending flea markets/antiquing, judging Miss Mississippi preliminaries and playing tennis.