Rudy Harris will retire after 40 years at DMACC

Sociology Professor Rudy Harris is retiring after 40 years.

Sociology Professor Rudy Harris is retiring after 40 years.

By Anna Duran.

Rudy Harris, the head of the Sociology department, is retiring after 40 years at DMACC.

In those 40 years, Harris has worked with four DMACC presidents, nine deans,  thousands of students, and only missed three days of work.

“He’s got a very strong work ethic, and believes in being here as much as humanly possible,” Sociology professor Gary Titchener said.

Harris also has a unique attachment to his career. He has kept up with the research in his field and reviews the texts in his field for a publishing company.

“If you want to be a good teacher you have to fine tune all the time, keep your brain sharp. I like these areas and wanted to pursue them. I’ve always been interested,” Harris said.

“He has a passion for sociology. He’s always enthusiastic. You can’t replace 40 years of experience,” dean of arts and sciences Jim Stick said.

There’s no doubt that Harris cares deeply for his students.

“Seeing students graduate or go through a course with me, seeing them light up on a journey with me is a cool experience. It’s really nice to maintain contact with the students I’ve connected with,” Harris said.

It’s obvious his students feel the same way about him.

“I love him as a professor. I’ve had a blast in the two classes I took with him. DMACC is really going to lose something when he retires,” said Chris Flannery, a first year student.

Harris and his colleagues have relationships that are mutually brimming with respect.

“He’s an amazing guy, extremely well-liked by his students. I have a hard time imagining this not being a part of his life. Rudy would say he was going to retire in two years, and then the next year, ‘I’ll retire in two years.’ It kind of became a running joke,” said Titchener.

“This is very hard for him to retire. I know he’s put it off,” said Stick.

“I didn’t expect to stay here this long, but DMACC is an excellent institution,” Harris said.

His office is overflowing with sociology books, and he says he’s been cleaning. The shelves – still full of texts and papers – do little to prove it.

“It’s been emotional,” he says of the cleaning process.

Harris can’t remember any particularly bad days.

“I’m always positive and upbeat. We don’t live in a perfect world, so there are frustrations. Most of the time, it’s positive,” he said.

Staying positive has its benefits, but Rudy harbors no illusion that retiring will be easy for him.

“I think the first year may be the most difficult, making the transition. I think after the first year, I should be okay,” Harris said.

Harris has plans to travel this summer. He and his wife have planned an Alaskan cruise and to spend some time on the east coast with family before returning in the fall to teach as an adjunct part time.

“It’s been a fun experience, a hobby for me. It’s a challenge, but the rewards are terrific. I’m really going to miss it. It’s been a beautiful journey.”

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