October 2, 2004

Irving B. Harris passes away

Irving B. Harris, a businessman and philanthropist especially concerned with the development of children, died on September 25 at age 94. Mr. Harris was an extensive supporter of art and educational centers throughout the region; his impact can be seen on campus in the form of the Irving Harris Graduate School of Public Policy, and Cultural Policy Center. He believed in the necessity of better education for children; he helped establish the University of Minnesota's Training Center for Infant and Toddler Development and the Erikson Institute for Advanced Studies in Child Development at Yale University

Harris and his wife, Joan, also gave generously to the arts. The Chicago Opera Theater opened in Millennium Park this year at the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance.

According to Professor D. Carrol Jones, Executive Director of the Cultural Policy Center, Mr. Harris "helped build an entire sub-field of study, and had an enormous impact on the development of public policy." Professor Jones, who launched the Policy Center with the backing of Mr. and Mrs. Harris, noted, "Both Irving and Joan always had time to talk, and have been invaluable sounding boards as we worked to develop various aspects of our program." Mr. Harris's help was most recently used to secure prominent scholars for a Policy Center conference concerning the future of Public Television. He is survived by his wife Joan and three children. A service was held at the Chicago Sinai Congregation on Wednesday, September 29.