Mr. and Mrs. Michael Harris of Sikeston, Mo., made a $10,000 gift to establish the scholarship, a portion of which falls under the University’s matching gift program.
The matching gift program is part of the Honoring Tradition – Inspiring Success Comprehensive Campaign through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. This program allows donors to make a minimum commitment of $5,000 to a maximum commitment of $10,000 through donation or pledge by March 1, 2014, that will qualify for a $1-for-$1 match. The goal of the Campaign is to raise $40 million for student scholarships, academic programs and renovations that benefit students both today and tomorrow.
The renewable scholarship will be awarded to a student from Sikeston, Mo., enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University who is pursuing a degree in social work. Second preference will be given to a Southeast student from Scott County in Missouri who is majoring in social work. Recipients must have a minimum 2.0 grade point average and demonstrate a commitment to community service. The Department of Social Work Scholarship Committee will select the recipient.
Michael K. Harris Sr. is a lifelong resident of Sikeston, Mo., and a 1979 graduate of Sikeston Senior High School. He attended Southeast Missouri State University, earning his Bachelor of Science in social work in 1984 and his Master of Science in administration with a major in human services administration in 2001. As an undergraduate, he served as the membership chair of Student Activities Council and was a 1981 pledge of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Upon graduation, Harris enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard in May 1984 and retired in January 2007, obtaining the rank of master sergeant. In 2005, he was called to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Iraq, he served as the noncommissioned officer in charge with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Logistical Support Area Anaconda located near Balad, Iraq. Harris completed active duty in June 2006, earning a Bronze Star Medal, an Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal and a Combat Action Badge. Harris is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a member of the American Legion.
Harris is an active participant in advocating for church and other community-based organizations to develop community gardens as a way of empowering people to supplement their incomes and provide their families affordable nutritious food sources.
Harris is a member of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board of Directors and has served as chairman of the Copper Dome Committee. In addition, he has served multiple terms on a variety of not-for-profit boards and committees aimed at improving the quality of life for Sikeston area residents. He has served three terms as councilman to the City of Sikeston, including as mayor pro tem in 2004.
Harris is married to the Honorable Councilwoman Dr. Maude Harris, who holds degrees from Southeast from 1985, 1995 and 2001. Family members are Najawa, Brenda, Sloane, Michael “Kellar” and grandson Brendan.
For additional information on the matching gift program, please contact the Southeast Missouri University Foundation at (573) 651-2203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.