“This is an incredible University,” President Walter Harrison told the hundreds of people gathered for his retirement celebration in the Sports Center on Wednesday, April 5. “I want you to leave here not thinking, ‘Walt Harrison was a great guy,’ but that, ‘he had the great privilege and honor of being the president of the greatest University in the world.”
The celebration for Harrison, who is retiring at the end of June after 19 years as president, was filled with personal touches and surprises. A championship banner in honor of Harrison, donated by University Regent Tom Trillo ’79, was unveiled. Harrison received proclamations from lawmakers. He was honored with two original fanfares written by Hartt School Professor Stephen Gryc and performed by an ensemble of Hartt students under the direction of Professor Edward Cumming. Harrison is a lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan and he also received a letter from the Pirates President Frank Coonelly and an authentic jersey bearing his name and the number 19.