Dr. Cleveland Harrison, a 1947 graduate of Little Rock Junior College who returned to his alma mater to teach speech and develop a theatre program, has died. He was 88.
Harrison’s introduction to theater at LRJC – UALR’s predecessor institution – gave him his first leading role and introduced him to his future wife, Marian “Tumpy” Gammill. Both were members of the Trojan Theatre Guild and Delta Psi Omega, an honorary dramatics society.
Called to World War II, Dr. Harrison ended up in Berlin in Germany’s Little Theater before returning to LRJC. A lack of housing kept Harrison from enrolling at New York University and Harvard, two of the institutions where he was accepted.
He finished his degree at Ohio State University and earned a master’s degree before returning to LRJC to teach speech. In 1951, he started the dramatics program.
Later, Dr. Harrison taught speech, supervised the speech program, and chaired the fine arts program at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville before becoming dean of Architecture and Fine Arts at Auburn University
Dr. Harrison died June 16 of acute leukemia. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, a daughter, son, and two grandsons. A memorial service was held in Auburn on June 24, under the direction of Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home and Crematory.