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Donald Harris

Donald Harris

Stanford professor emeritus | Kamala Harris’ dad

Before he was Donald Harris — pioneering economist, esteemed Stanford professor and father of Democratic VP nominee Kamala — he was fresh-out-of-college, new-to-the-Midwest UI Associate Professor Harris.

Flash back to 1966. “I remember it well as a nurturing experience that provided a valuable opportunity to get started on doing the teaching and research that would come to anchor my future career,” the emeritus professor remembers of his first full-time job in higher ed.

“The campus and its combined urban-rural environment provided an ideal setting for both work and family life. I developed many friends among colleagues in the department, but none more endearing to me than John Due and his wife, Jean.

“John actually recruited me when, as chair of the department, he visited UC-Berkeley in my final year there as a graduate student. He and his wife welcomed me and my family with open arms, shared many a delicious meal and enjoyable evening with us, and helped us find housing and our way in and around the city.

“As economists with overlapping interests in development economics, John, Jean and I would talk for hours about our shared experiences of work in developing countries, theirs in Africa and mine in the Caribbean.”

In 1967, Harris left the UI for the second of three Big Ten stops — Northwestern (1967-68), which led to a longer stint at Wisconsin (1968-72) before he landed at Stanford in 1972.