Harris receives Diversity Award

Published 3:25 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Sam Harris had no idea he would receive the Lake Michigan College (LMC) Diversity Award in 2005.
Two weeks ago, the college surprised Harris once again when they asked the Chief Deputy of Berrien County Sheriff Dept. to address the audience during a ceremony at the school's Bertrand Crossing Campus.
Each year, the school's board of trustees nominates an individual who has been a positive promoter of diversity in the communities surrounding the college. Harris said he received the award in 2005 for his work in breaking down some of the barriers in Benton Harbor, especially between the multiple law enforcement departments.
Harris' 39 years in law enforcement began in Chicago where he was the city's first African American mounted police officer. Upon his arrival in Benton Harbor, he became Berrien County Sheriff Dept.'s first African American Chief Deputy.
Harris was introduced by Randall R. Miller, LMC's new president and the eight person to hold the position in the school's 60 year history.
During his speech, Harris talked about Dr. King and the ways he worked to give others the chance to excel in their own way.
To close the ceremony, LMC student Blane Grey stood and sang “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind on Freedom” by an unknown composer, and “Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson.
The 2006 recipient of LMC's diversity award was also named Monday, Benton Harbor City Manager Dwight Pete Mitchell. He was honored during a breakfast at the Napier Avenue Campus.