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UTA honors legacy of Texas Senator Chris Harris

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Media Contact: Kristin Sullivan

News Topics: alumni, Arlington, engineering, nursing, politics, staff, urban and public affairs

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The University of Texas at Arlington community sends its deepest sympathy to the family of the late state Sen. Chris Harris on his passing. Sen. Harris was a strong supporter of UTA and contributed significantly to the University’s growth in size and quality, enabling it to have the ambitions and aspirations that exist today on campus.

Former Texas Senator Chris Harris

Texas Senator Chris Harris during the 2011 dedication of the UTA Engineering Research Building

Harris was instrumental in obtaining special funding that served as a catalyst for the growth of the School of Nursing into the renowned College of Nursing and Health Innovation, the largest provider of nursing graduates in the state of Texas and one of the most respected and highly ranked programs in the nation and around the world.

“The special item funding Sen. Harris shepherded through the Legislature for the College of Nursing enabled us to fully implement our concept for a Smart Hospital, which has helped us transform nursing education to meet the healthcare needs of Texans today and into the future," said Beth Mancini, senior associate dean for education innovation and chair of undergraduate nursing programs for the College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Harris also championed funding for UTA’s Engineering Research Building, enabling dramatic growth in the UTA College of Engineering, now ranked in the top 100 engineering schools in the nation and a leading producer of skilled engineering graduates serving North Texas and beyond.

Jeff Jeter, long time chief of staff for Sen. Harris and now UTA’s director of government relations, said “Senator Harris’s drive to provide UTA with the tools it needed to expand was always his first priority. Chris was a giant and a friend, and he will be missed.”

UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said, “Chris Harris was more than a friend of UTA. He saw the University’s potential and stepped in to do what he could to ignite further growth, set us on a track to Tier 1 status, and positioned us to serve students and our community even more than we had to date. He was an integral part of the UTA vision, and we will never forget his contributions to us.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tammy Harris and the Harris family during this time, and we express our gratitude for the life and service of Senator Chris Harris,” Karbhari said.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.