Harris Gift Establishes JanTerm Scholarship

Students wanting to travel abroad for an Austin College January Term class can have better access due to a generous scholarship endowed through a gift from alumni Mary Ann and James R. Harris of Fort Worth.

The $1.4 million gift establishes the ongoing disbursement of the Mary Ann ’70 and James R. ’67 Harris JanTerm scholarship specifically for international classes. The couple contributed an additional $100,000 to the Caren Clark Study Abroad Endowment for a total gift of $1.5 million.

When describing her own Austin College January Term experiences, Mary Ann said, “I met famous authors, saw inspiring art and architecture, attended plays and concerts, and made lifelong friends.” Harris traveled to Mexico City, London and Greece for three different Jan Terms while at the College.

“Neither Jim nor I can imagine a more valuable legacy than making international travel accessible to students. We would like to see Austin College linked in people’s minds to travel opportunities. A large part of Austin College’s mission is to foster analytical thought, and such exposure to other people and places forces us to examine our own culture and values in light of foreign ones, often giving us a stronger sense of who we are and what we believe in,” Harris said.

This month, 146 Austin College students have traveled abroad for intense, focused learning in a variety of subjects such as Spanish language immersion in Costa Rica, and theater studies in London. The January Term schedule was established in 1967 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary of international travel next year. The term allows students to earn full course credit for a single class in just three weeks.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.