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US Coast Guard


Keith Harrison (Associate Dean & Professor of Law)

August 15, 2018

Dean and Professor of Law Keith M. Harrison passed away on August 15, 2018 at Memorial Hospital, Savannah, GA. Dean Harrison was a beloved friend, colleague, leader, teacher, and mentor to the students, faculty, and staff. He was a master teacher and a wise and skilled administrator.

He was born in November 1956 to June Bell Harrison (now Russ) and Charles Thomas Harrison of Washington, DC as the youngest of four siblings.  A proud Anacostia native, Dean Harrison graduated from Eastern High School.  He received his B.A. degree from St. John’s College and J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Dean Harrison had a distinguished career of over 30 years in legal education as both a teacher and administrator. He began his academic career as a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Antioch School of Law. He then was an Assistant Professor at Northern Illinois University; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, President of the Faculty Senate, and an Associate Professor at the University of Denver College of Law; and Vice Dean, Founding Chair of the Programs in International Criminal Law and Justice, and Professor at University of New Hampshire School of Law. He joined Savannah Law School in 2016.

Never far from Dean Harrison’s heart was his service to his country in the Coast Guard. He served with distinction for four years as a Judge Advocate before beginning his academic career. He was awarded the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbon and left with the rank of Lieutenant. Dean Harrison continued to serve as a civilian member of the Department of Defense’s Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces and as a public member of the Uniform Code of Military Justice Code Committee.

Colleagues and students remember Dean Harrison as a talented teacher, an able administrator, and a trusted mentor and friend. He invariably took the time to know personally his students. He always had an encouraging word and displayed compassion and concern for people’s well-being. He was renowned for his wise counsel. He urged students and colleagues to hold themselves to high standards of character and integrity — standards to which he also held himself.  The Savannah Law School community will miss his warm smile and quick wit. He touched the lives of countless students, faculty and staff and made a difference through his vocation as a teacher.

He is survived by the family he loved dearly and of whom he was justifiably proud:  his wife, Karen Anderson, whom he met in law school and who serves as Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, and their children, daughter Michaele and son David, a Savannah Law School student. He also leaves to cherish his memories, his mother, June Russ, brothers Charles Thomas, Stephen, and Darryl, an extended family of brothers- and sisters-in-law and numerous nieces and nephews.   

A memorial service will be held in Savannah for Dean Harrison at SLS on Monday, August 20, 2018. Additionally, funeral services will be held in Washington, DC  in September 2018, followed by a full military burial at the Arlington National Cemetery.


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