Thursday, November 27, 2014

In Memoriam: Harry Reed, 1923-2014

By Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

     “You want to try teaching Texas land titles?” That question from Joe Williamson began Harry Reed’s 62-year relationship with South Texas College of Law in 1952. At the time, Joe Williamson and Harry both worked at Shell Oil. Williamson was an adjunct at South Texas and in January of that year he asked if Harry wanted to join him in academia. Harry taught as an adjunct from 1952 until Shell transferred him to New York in 1957. He returned to Texas in 1959, and once again began teaching. He taught as an adjunct until 1978, when he developed high blood pressure and decided “not tempt fate any more by carrying on two careers.” He took a break from teaching until he retired from Shell in 1985, then he returned full-time to South Texas where his friend and former co-worker Joe Willliamson was Dean.
     Harry has seen South Texas go from a part-time night school in the basement of the YMCA to a school on the cutting-edge of legal education and he played a vital role in that transformation. In addition to being one of the school’s most popular professors, Harry served as the school’s general counsel for almost two decades, starting two days after he was hired full-time in 1985.  During that time he reviewed contracts and offered advice to four Deans, and assisted the College in obtaining full accreditation by the ABA in the mid to late 1980s.
     He’s seen the student body change as well. In the 1950s and 60s, the student body was primarily men with full-time jobs and families. Women have always been admitted to South Texas, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when the enrollment of women and minorities started to increase. The student body became younger when the school offered a full-time program, with students coming straight from their undergraduate studies. “There have been a lot of impressive students over the years. It’s very gratifying when they come back very mature and doing well to express a great thanks to me and the college.”
     Harry was a leader, an inspiration, and a beloved colleague. He had a sharp wit and an incredible mind. This is the time of year when we all count our blessings and are thankful for all we have. We at South Texas will forever be thankful for Harry Reed.
     A Memorial service will be held at United Methodist Church, 1320 Main St., Houston, TX, 77002, on November 29, 2014, at 10am. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church, Houston. Contributions can also be made to the scholarship fund being established in Harry’s name by South Texas College of Law, 1303 San Jacinto St, Houston, TX 77002.
     You can view Harry’s obituary here.