case western reserve university



January 17, 2013

Legendary Alum: The Passing of Lillian Harris


Lillian F. Harris, a strong supporter of the Mandel School and a 1933 MSSA graduate, died January 9, 2013, at the age of 104.

She was a major force in the growth of the Mandel School at Case Western Reserve University. In 1983, she established the Harris Endowment Fund for student scholarships at a time when scholarship funds were difficult to secure. In 1989, she established the Lillian F. and Milford J. Harris Library which remains a focal point of the school to this present day. She established the sixth chair at MSASS in 1997, the Lillian F. Harris Professorship held by Claudia Coulton, a Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve.

"In the passing of Mrs. Lillian Harris, the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and CWRU have lost a very good friend and advocate," said MSASS Dean Grover Gilmore. "Mrs. Harris valued the training that she received in social work. She understood the importance of supporting the faculty in their educational mission. She supported the library at MSASS, which is regarded as the premier social work library. The investments by Mrs. Harris and her family have been important to the school and will continue to benefit students, faculty, and alumni into the future. We will miss her smile and her thoughtful advice."

Mrs. Harris was among a small but elite group of women in the U.S. who earned a graduate degree after completing her MSSA at Case Western Reserve University in 1933. She joined her husband, Milford, also a CWRU graduate, working in their modest westside pharmacy. The business grew over the years and became a major U.S. drug wholesaler. She continued to work regularly well into her nineties.

Although she saw her support as an enhancement to student education at MSASS, she was proud of the direction of the school and its intersection with individuals, families and communities. MSASS staff, faculty and students were honored to have Lillian F. Harris as a graduate and will forever be grateful for the many ways she made Case Western Reserve and the Mandel School a better place.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 27, at the Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, 1985 S. Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights. Interment will be held at Bet Olam Cemetery. Family will receive friends at the residence of Seth and Lilli Harris, 34000 Fairmount Blvd., Hunting Valley, immediately following the interment. Donations, in honor of Mrs. Harris, may be sent to: Lillian and Milford Harris Endowment Fund, Office of Advancement Services, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106-7035.