Dear Bennett Family:
It is with great sadness that I write today to share news that Trustee Andrea Harris, Bennett College Class of 1970, passed away this morning.
Trustee Harris was a tireless advocate and champion of Bennett College and our students. Chair Robinson reflected that “Andrea was particularly committed to supporting young, Black women who didn’t have a chance anywhere else. She knew that Bennett College would take those young women and help transform them into leaders.” She saw HBCUs as the key to social mobility.
It is one thing to talk about supporting HBCUs, it is another to dive in and roll up your sleeves and put some skin in the game to help even in challenging times. Andrea Harris served not one, but two, extended terms as a member of the Board of Trustees of Bennett College. Additionally, she brought numerous important relationships, partnerships, and resources to Bennett. If she had a connection or a dollar—Bennett had a connection and a dollar. She delighted in making those connections and contributing to help support the College.
I received 3 – 5 emails daily from Trustee Harris and at least one new introduction per week. She was incredibly engaged and supportive and appropriately challenging to help improve my thinking. I will miss her but am so thankful to have been able to benefit from her wisdom and wit.
We will send along any additional information as we receive it. In the meantime, if we all set as a goal to live our lives a bit more like Andrea Harris, I think that is the best way to continue her legacy. I leave you with this quote from a 2019 article about her on the Self-Help website:
Andrea Harris is a person who doesn’t like silos—or, for that matter, any box or barrier that limits people. Throughout her career, she has refused to be deterred by obstacles and has been guided by her vision of what should be. Her life has been dedicated to hands-on help and shoe-leather advocacy for families of limited means. She has worked on behalf of the very young and the very old. She has worked for families in urban and rural areas. She has befriended people with all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs, and she has brought them together.
Let’s all strive to live like that.
Suzanne Elise Walsh, President