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IMS Creates Scholarship To Honor Journalist Mike Harris

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 22 2009

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

ims logoIndianapolis – One of the most familiar and respected bylines in the newspaper industry will disappear this summer when Mike Harris steps into retirement.

Harris will conclude a 40-year career with The Associated Press – including 30 as motorsports editor – on July 1. A fixture in the Media Center at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Harris was honored by IMS management and his colleagues during a brief ceremony at the head of the room Friday morning.

Fred Nation, IMS’ executive vice president/communications, announced creation of a scholarship in Harris’ name. The scholarship will be available to college students attending the Indiana University School of Journalism’s new National Sports Journalism Center, location of The Associated Press Sports Editors headquarters, in Bloomington. Winner of the annual scholarship also will have the option to serve as an intern with either the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Indy Racing League.

John Griffin, the IRL’s vice president of public relations, and Ron Green, IMS’ director of public relations, presented Harris with a black helmet signed by all 33 drivers starting Sunday’s 93rd Indy 500. It will be Harris’ 40th Indy 500…but perhaps not his last.

Harris, a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin, confirmed that he is scheduled to join the staff of RacinToday.com as senior writer in August.

Meanwhile, Harris said the scholarship endowment came as a complete surprise.

“I thought they were going to give me a cake. That’s what NASCAR did,” Harris said. “Other than my wife and kids, the scholarship is certainly one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me, absolutely. I think that’s wonderful. I like the idea of giving back to journalism in some ways and I think I’ll probably do a little contributing myself to that one.”

Addressing his colleagues, Harris added, “Thanks, everybody, for all the nice things that have been going on recently. It’s kind of embarrassing to have this many people saying nice things about me.”

Contributions to the Mike Harris Scholarship can be made to: Indiana University Foundation, Mike Harris Scholarship, c/o Fred Nation, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46222.

– John Sturbin can reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, May 22 2009
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