Paul McDonald Harris ’39, ’47

January 26, 2018

Paul Harris (wearing a red shirt) and wife Clara (in yellow) are surrounded by their children and grandchildren at Thanksgiving 2017. Harris will celebrate his 100th birthday on January 28, 2018, with family and friends.

Paul McDonald Harris, B.S. ’39, M.A. ’47, will celebrate his 100th birthday on Sunday, January 28, 2018, with family and friends.

Born in 1918, three years after SMU’s first classes began in Dallas Hall in fall 1915, Harris grew up in University Park, one block north of the University campus.

Three other members of his immediate family were also SMU alumni. His father, the late Joseph (Joe) Pollard Harris, B.S. ’27, M.A. ’30, served as superintendent of Dallas County Schools. His older sister, the late Fredna Jane Harris Davis, B.A. ’32, was a longtime elementary school teacher in the Dallas Independent School District. His older brother, the late Dr. Joseph Pollard Harris, Jr., B.A. ’34, served SMU for many years as an educator and administrator. He was a biology professor for 30 years, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences (1963–1971) and SMU vice provost (1971–1973).

After earning his undergraduate degree, Paul Harris became a public school teacher in Grand Prairie, Texas, before enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following his military service, Harris was a longtime principal at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, retiring as an administrator at Skyline High School. A talented and gifted artist, Harris has enjoyed watercolor painting for many years, and his creations have won numerous awards.

Harris and his wife, Clara Anderson Harris, live in Dallas and will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary in June. They are the proud parents of four children: the late Lee Ann Harris, Paul M. Harris, Jr., Jeff A. Harris and Nancy Harris Files. The Harrises also have eight grandchildren and a great-granddaughter, born January 16, 2018. They are longtime members of Highland Park United Methodist Church.