For alumnus Jesse Harris, class of 2003, basketball was justanother aspect of his college career. However, that oneextracurricular activity had made him the recipient of the DuaneSchroeder IIAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year for 2002-03.
“I just saw college as a great opportunity. We are givenresources here and should make the best of them. I came to Simpsonfor the education, but also for the life it would offer me,” saidHarris. Throughout his time at Simpson, Harris made the most of hiseducation. A President’s and Dean’s List scholar, Harris maintaineda high GPA and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major inpolitical science and history. His accomplishments in the classroomalso reflected his success on the court.
Head basketball coach Bruce Wilson commented on Harris as abasketball player, scholar and team leader.
“Each year, we looked to him as our ‘go-to guy’. Jesse wasalways personally prepared, whether for a game, for practice or inthe offseason. He was ready for the team and always made sure hegave a successful performance,” said Wilson.
Harris admitted to being surprised as the recipient of such anhonorable award.
“My best friend goes to Buena Vista and I thought he would getit. But I am happy to get it, and proud have been a participant inour college conference athletics. It made my college experiencevery memorable.”
Harris had applied for the award when he was a sophomore, butrealized that it would be given to a senior.
Wilson spoke highly of the award and the athletes that it goesto.
“This is just an awesome award and it goes to quality athletes.This says a lot about Jesse’s work ethic, his attitude andself-discipline. It went to a very deserving athlete.”
Both Harris and Wilson spoke of the importance of academicswhile being an athlete.
“As a coach, we try and see them as a student athlete, not justone or the other. We want them to grow academically, socially andobviously in their sport. Jesse was very well grounded and alwayshad superior academic success. We couldn’t have wanted anythingmore,” said Wilson.
“Coach Wilson was always geared to having the kids in theclassroom. He was very flexible with our classes and schoolresponsibilities. He wanted us to have the skills necessary both onand off the court to succeed,” said Harris.
While off the court, Harris stayed busy with other campusactivities like The Simpsonian and campus politics. Today, he hasinvested his passion for political science in the presidentialcampaign for John Edwards.
“I don’t really have time for much basketball right now, thoughI would like to. Hopefully, I can play now and then, but at themoment, I’m really focusing on the campaign and my work,” saidHarris.
After graduating from Simpson, Harris went on to receive apostgraduate scholarship and the 2003 Simpson Barborka Award forexcellence on and off the court.
Harris will be given the award at a ceremony in May of 2004.