In Memoriam: Longtime CMC Trustee Harris W. Seed, 1927-2017

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Harris W. Seed, longtime trustee and benefactor of Claremont McKenna College, passed away in July at the age of 89.

Seed became a Trustee of CMC in 1965. In 1977, he started the Harris and Ann Seed Honors Scholarship, an annual merit-based scholarship awarded to high-achieving students as part of the McKenna Scholars program. Additionally, he established a number of funds to benefit the College and its students during his tenure as a trustee, including a fund that was dedicated to programming at the Athenaeum.

In a letter informing the College of his intention to form a titular scholarship for incoming students, Seed recognized distinctions that lined up with his own commitments to higher education. “We fully and firmly believe that the policies, practices, and, in particular, the ultimate aims and goals of CMC are significant, worthwhile, and will make a mark for the betterment of society,” he wrote.

As president of the Tuohy Foundation, Seed founded two endowed professorships at the College: the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professorship in Government and Ethics, currently held by Professor Joseph M. Bessette, and the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professorship in Management and Government.

Outside of education, Seed was an advocate for a wide range of not-for-profit causes: He was a former director – and later chairman – of SEE, Inc., a group that performs eye surgeries on those in need around the world. Seed volunteered significantly, as trustee at the Goleta Valley Community Hospital and the Santa Barbara County Board of Education, and as a founder of the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara.

Over the course of his working life, Seed’s business acumen was lauded. After serving in the Army, he received his law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He went on to found two law firms, both in Santa Barbara. Outside of practicing law, he was an entrepreneur and leader in businesses ranging from biomedical firms to banks.

Seed was determined to honor the spirit of community and family. As a mentor to many young entrepreneurs and lawyers, he encouraged them to participate in their communities. He held tickets to his alma mater’s football games for many years, and attended the Rose Bowl for years. Seed and his wife Ann were enthusiastic golfers and traveled worldwide to pursue the sport.

He is survived by his wife Ann, children, and grandchildren. His family asked that any remembrance be sent to the Harris W. Seed II Merit Scholarship Fund at the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.


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