Frank Chandler Harris
Director of Public Information, Emeritus
UC Los Angeles
1914 – 2005
Frank Chandler Harris, 90, UCLA publicist for 43 years, died June 24, 2005 after a long illness.
Born in Neligh, Nebraska on November 5, 1914, Harris moved with his family to Southern California in 1928 and attended Hollywood High School. In 1931, he enrolled at UCLA and was active on campus, serving as editor of the Daily Bruin, as chair of the California Club, and as a member of the student council and board of control. He joined Delta Sigma Phi, later serving as chapter president, national president (1959-63), and editor of its national magazine (1969-80).
Harris graduated from UCLA in 1936 and, after two years as editor of a trade journal, rejoined UCLA for good in 1939, covering the southern UC campuses for a nationally broadcast radio program called “University Explorer.” For the next 22 years, he also wrote for the university’s “Science Editor” and “Factfinder” radio programs. The format of the latter called for listeners to send in any question under the sun, and it was Harris’ job to dig up the answer and to explain how he found it. “That’s when I learned how to come up with the answer to the most esoteric inquiry,” recalled Harris, a talent that was to stand him in good stead when he was promoted to campus public information manager in 1961.
He moved up another notch in 1975 as director of the public information office, in charge of all UCLA media relations, the Visitors Center and related activities. Harris held this position until his retirement in 1982. Described as “a consummate gentleman and communications professional who always avoided grandstanding and backslapping,” Harris was known for his characteristic unflappability and courtesy, which earned him the deep loyalty of his staff and the profound respect of his colleagues.
Harris also served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Western Los Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, Hathaway Children’s Services, the American Youth Symphony and the UCLA Faculty Center. He was editor of a 1985 book called “Royce Hall,” and also served as a docent for the UCLA Visitors Center.
UCLA Today, August 16, 2005
Approved by Jeanne Giovannoni, Vice Chair, UCLA UEPRRC