Tribute Gift: Lee Harris
Lee Harris is a perfect example of how an individual with a plan and a purpose can achieve his goal and successfully overcome adversity. Lee came to Victor Valley College in 1987 as a new student at age 35. He was retraining from a career as a carpet installer, a job that had taken a heavy physical toll on his body and one that his doctor said he could no longer continue.
As a high school dropout he knew that his goal of becoming a scriptwriter would not be easy. At VVC, Lee learned that he had dyslexia and worked with the Disabled Students Programs and Services Department to learn how to cope with this and continue toward his goal.
Lee was active in campus activities and was elected as Senator for Theatre Arts on the Associated Student Body council. He was a lifetime member of the ASB. He was the first and only student to produce and direct a major Broadway musical, “Annie” taking the production from conception to final curtain and bringing in a profit for the venture. He also wrote and directed two short plays that were performed on stage while he attended V.V.C.
Lee was a student hourly worker for the Victor Valley College Performing Arts Center and a Scene Shop Assistant for the Theatre Arts Department while he continued toward his degree. In 1990 he graduated from V.V.C.
From 1991-1994, Lee worked for the Lancaster Performing Arts Center technical staff as a member of the theatrical crew as well as in fabrication and set construction. After briefly returning to VVC, Lee began work on his BA at Cal State San Bernardino, graduating in 2001.
Lee received his Master's Degree in Contemporary Dramatic Literature in 2004 from Cal State San Bernardino. A few months later, he began his dream job of teaching Stage Craft at VVC. Lee held this position from August 2001until his passing on April 2, 2012.
During his tenure at V.V.C. Lee touched the lives of many students, inspiring them to set goals and work toward achieving them. His own story of success could have been enough encouragement for most students but he chose to spend countless hours tutoring and training, teaching and mentoring anyone who showed the desire to learn more.
Lee developed two courses for V.V.C. that are now a part of the curriculum. He had the opportunity to teach Prosthetics Makeup and helped two students to begin working in the field. Unfortunately he didn’t have the chance to teach Script Writing.
Many students came into Stage Craft not knowing a hammer from a saw and left the course realizing that they had not only fabrication skills that served them well but artistic abilities as well. Several of his students discovered a love of theatre from his example. Lee inspired students to go beyond their comfort zone, to try to achieve more than they initially thought they were capable of. He always enjoyed his students’ success, saying, “I love it when my students outsmart me!”
An endowment scholarship in Lee’s name will be a lasting testament not only to him but also to the purpose of this institution. Lee saw opportunity in education and how learning new skills would benefit starting over.
This gift honors Mr. Lee Harris who was a passionate advocate for education, Theater Arts and great friend of Victor Valley College. Online gifts may be made in $25 increments. Please indicate the total amount of your gift by selecting a quantity that achieves your desired tribute.