Frank Hoffman Harris

Tuesday 18th of December 1934 - Monday 26th of July 2021

Frank Hoffman Harris


Celebration of Life

Aug 10, 2021 (5:00 pm - 7:00 pm)


218 Jefferson St., Lexington, KY

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If you can't attend Frank's celebration tomorrow in person, please join us virtually by clicking this link and selecting GOING.

Frank Hoffman Harris, 86, passed on July 26, 2021. The oldest of 5 children, he was born December 18, 1934 in Louisville, KY, the son of Lucille Irene Hoffman Harris Matheson and Roy Edward Harris.  His family was to move to Hopkinsville KY, Paris TN, Oak Ridge TN and Paducah KY.  Frank was active in 4-H & FAA programs and graduated from Lone Oak High School in 1952.  He attended Paducah Junior College during the day from 1954-56 with majors in Science and Pre-Med and was senior class and student body president while also working at the Atomic Energy Commission plant at night.  Frank enlisted in the US Army at Ft. Benning GA as Sargent E-5 with Company D, 3rd Infantry Division and served in Aschaffenburg, Germany.  Back in Kentucky he taught Science at Heath High School, in Heath, KY. He graduated from UK in 1962 where he was also the Night Manager of the Student Center. He did post graduate work in education in 1962 and 1963.  Frank met and married fellow student and visual art major, Elsie Ewart Kay of Charleston WV.  He taught Chemistry at Lafayette High School before he and Elsie entered the USAID, Teachers for East Africa, program where he taught biology to 150 Tanzanian secondary African boys at KNCU school near Moshi, Tanzania on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Returning stateside, Frank became the Administrative Assistant at the UK Student Center and in 1965 was appointed the Director of the Student Center.  In 1973, he was appointed Associated Dean of Students. In 1980, he became the Director Student Center as well as the Associate Dean of Students, a position he held until retirement in 1997.  While there, he was the University Advisor to the Student Government Association, the Student Agencies and the Student Activities Board.     

Frank was a founding father of the National Association Campus Activities, originally known as NEC, National Entertainment Conference, and the first Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1967 – 1969 where later he was named an honorary chairman.  The NACA Frank H. Harris Student Government Advisor Award was named in honor of him and he was the recipient of the NACA Founders Award, the highest honor presented by the organization.  He was a member of the Association of College Unions-International where he held the position of Regional Representative from 1967 - 1968.  He is a member of  Phi Delta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society.  Frank has had the opportunity to influence the lives of many students. He has also touched the lives of many individuals and groups in the entertainment field, both agents and artists, and has mentored many individuals in the profession of Student Union management and Student Activities.  At his UK retirement luncheon in Dec. 1997 he had remarks by Mayor Pam Miller, Gov. Edward Breathett, and Charles T. Wethington Jr. among others. “His contributions, influence and friendship in the life and well-being of students and staff at the University of Kentucky are deeply appreciated and will be fondly remembered.   said John Herbst, UK Student Center Director.   In addition, Hebst further commented,


"To say that Frank Harris was an Icon in the profession would be a dramatic understatement.  Frank's selfless love for others and service leadership is larger than life.  As many are aware, because of the NACA Award named for him, he advised Student Government and student leaders at the University of Kentucky for decades with a passion for student development.


I was fortunate to visit with many of the original founders of the Association and they recalled, that as the Block Booking Conference was evolving into the National Entertainment Conference and incorporating; everyone realized they needed a respected and articulate person of highest integrity to represent the group to University Presidents AND some of the most influential and powerful agents/managers in the Entertainment Industry.  All eyes in the room turned to Frank Harris, and he graciously said, 'Yes, I will'.”  


With much personal attention from Frank at his personal expense, NACA evolved into that dream envisioned in the 1960's.  I was honored to work for him, learn from him and call him my dearest friend."


After retirement the Student Center Grand Ballroom was dedicated in Frank’s honor.  Frank has served on the Lexington Council for the Arts (LexArts) board, the Lexington 4th of July Festival, the Bluegrass State Games and has been the Chairman of Board of the Griffin Gate Community Association 2 times, the second being the change from developer to community owned. 

He had a lifetime appreciation of the visual arts and was an avid collector.  He was a lifelong teacher – helping others to find their paths in life.  He was a quiet activist for equal rights for all, years ahead of his time, making space for voices that needed to be heard but could more easily have been quashed or drowned out.

Upon retirement, he cruised the “great loop,” the rivers, lakes, Great Lakes and intra-costal waterways of United States and Canada with wife Elsie in their boat, “SeaSong.”  He has traveled to many places in Africa, Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Middle East, Asia, South America and Antarctica. 

Frank is survived by his wife of 58 years, Elsie Ewart Kay Harris, 2 daughters, Leigh Harris (McKee) of Lexington, KY and Mindi Harris McClure and husband Jeff McClure of Dallas TX, 2 granddaughters, Catherine McClure and Ginger McClure of Dallas TX, sister Patricia Ann (and Don) Fullerton of Salt Lake City UT and brother Roy Michael (and Linda) Harris of Memphis TN as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by two brothers, Lawrence Edward Harris and Antony Lee Harris.  

A celebration of Frank's life will be held Tuesday, August 10 from 5-7pm at Apiary, 218 Jefferson St, Lexington KY. 

Those planning to attend are requested to leave a message here.  Festive attire and stories are encouraged. 

If you can't attend Frank's celebration tomorrow in person, please join us virtually by clicking this link and selecting GOING.


He would like all the memorial donations to go to University of Kentucky Frank H. Harris Fund, Office of Philanthropy, Sturgill Building, Rose St, Lexington, KY  40506 and/or NACA Foundation in memory of Frank H. Harris 13 Harbison Way, Columbia, SC  29212.



Guest Book

Joe Lizza


While I never met Frank, his accomplishments and focus on student success reach further then those who have met him personally. From all accounts, Frank was someone who took charge when others might have just sat and watched. “Even though your time on the job is temporary, if you do a good enough job, your work there will last forever” Joe Lizza Chair, NACA Foundation

9 months ago

Marilyn Sagan


Frank was an accomplished educator and all round good guy! My sympathy to his wife and daughters. Frank will be missed NY many people!

9 months ago

Dianne Cash


So sorry for your loss Elsie. He was such an accomplished man. We always think of him when we go to Starnes bar-b-cue in Paducah. He and Norm loved it. Prayers for you and the girls.

9 months ago