Unexpected Millionaires Bequeath Scholarship Gift to Westminster Students
February 28 2017
It is with enormous gratitude that Westminster accepts a gift of over $1 million from the estates of Myra and Lucille Harris. Their gift will fund scholarships in nursing and education, as well as support arts and community engagement for students.
Myra and Lucille Harris attended Westminster in the 1930s, where they both participated in the YWCA and Latin clubs. Lucille was called a “Latin Shark” in her 1935 yearbook. Over the years, their appreciation for Westminster deepened, while the hardworking and frugal sisters quietly continued to grow their savings.
The humble sisters were raised on their family ranch in southwest Wyoming, where they were homeschooled until their teen years by their mother, who was a certified teacher. After attending Westminster, they chose to be single, successful career women, leading lives of determination, loyalty and generosity. Through their estates, Myra and Lucille wished to support causes for which they advocated their entire lives.
“Education has been emphasized by the Harris family for more than six generations since they immigrated from England to Wyoming in the late 1880s,” said Dr. Jayne E. Clark, a cousin of the Harris sisters. “It is a distinct honor and unique thrill to represent Myra and Lucille to fulfill their final wishes of providing scholarships and educational opportunities for future Westminster College students.”
Lucille earned her associate’s degree from Westminster while working in the college library. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah, and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Denver. She was the librarian at Judge Memorial High School then worked for more than 40 years at the main Salt Lake City Library, retiring as the assistant head librarian. Lucille passed away in 1991.
Myra—Nurse and Mentor
Myra completed one year at Westminster then continued her education at the Holy Cross Hospital School of Nursing. She later received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Mary’s of the Wasatch Catholic School. She also earned an additional degree as a nurse anesthetist from the Sacred Heart Hospital School in Spokane, Washington. Later in her career, Myra was a nurse educator and a nurse administrator at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. A progressive mentor and role model to women in many professions, Myra passed away in 2014 at 98 years of age.
In their later years, Myra and Lucille shared a home and were active members of The Women’s Board of Westminster. Myra was awarded the distinction of a “Member of Honor” from the Woman’s Board for her many contributions.
“Myra and Lucille Harris are great models of the power of a Westminster education,” said President Stephen Morgan. “These new scholarships will pave the way for future Westminster students to follow in the Harris sisters’ footsteps, using their college education to give back to the community in powerful, meaningful ways."