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Faces Behind the Places of DePauw University

This guide includes historical information about the people behind DePauw University's building names.

John H. Harrison

                                                        John Higgens Harrison
                                                       November 30, 1867 – March 2, 1930

John Higgens Harrison"A man should live so that he maintains his own respect always."

Harrison upheld his own advice by living a life of involvement and dedication to his community. After a brief stint as a press agent for the Hagenback and Wallace Circus, Harrison gained his professional success in the journalism field. Beginning as a reporter in Chicago, Harrison quickly moved up to editor and publisher where he gained attention for being the first publisher to print on cornstalk paper. Harrison’s merge of four Danville, Illinois publications culminated into The Commercial News, “The Paper that Does Things.” He went on to preside as the President of the Inland Daily Press Association and to marry a fellow newspaper businessperson, Lucille Gilmore. At the time of Harrison’s death, his publication The Commercial News had the largest per capita newspaper circulation in the nation.

Throughout his life, Harrison was dedicated to giving back to that which had given to him, serving on multiple community committees. He was very invested in politics, even attending as a delegate to the Republican National Convention of 1916. Dedicated to his Christian faith, Harrison served as a trustee of his Methodist church.

At DePauw, Harrison was a member of the class of 1890 and Sigma Chi Fraternity. Harrison actually never graduated from the university due to his ailing father and financial difficulties, but was later awarded with an honorary M.A. degree and sat on the university’s board of trustees. Harrison gifted $700,000 to DePauw for the construction of a new science building. The cornerstone of Harrison Hall was laid on June 10, 1939 and was dedicated October 18th of the following year.

                                                                 Harrison Hall