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September 10, 1932 - July 15, 2010 Richard L. Harriman, Kansas City's beloved performing arts impresario, died on Thursday, July 15, 2010 at Liberty Hospital at the age of 77. He lived in Liberty, MO. A public memorial service for Richard Harriman will be held at 3 p.m., Sunday, August 8, in John Gano Memorial Chapel, on the William Jewell College campus in Liberty, MO. Contributions can be made to the Harriman- Jewell Series' Richard L. Harriman Fund for Excellence in the Arts. Please call the Series' development office at 816-415- 5025. Richard "Dick" Harriman was artistic director and founder of the Harriman-Jewell Series, an internationally acclaimed performing arts presenting organization, affiliated with William Jewell College. He joined the faculty in 1962 in the English department. In 1963, Harriman and fellow professor, D. Dean Dunham, Jr., petitioned the College's administration to fund performing arts presentations and Harriman became director of what began as the William Jewell College Fine Arts Program in 1965. The first season's two performances were a dance concert by New York City ballet stars Edward Villella and Patricia McBride and a recital by the world-famous tenor Jan Peerce. Iconic tenor Luciano Pavarotti famously sang his professional recital debut in 1973 for the College's Fine Arts Program and returned four times to sing at the campus and in downtown Kansas City venues. In 2000, the Fine Arts Program was renamed the "Harriman Arts Program of William Jewell College" in Richard Harriman's honor, later shortened to the "Harriman-Jewell Series" in 2006. Over the past 45 years, Harriman's namesake organization has become a treasured part of the cultural landscape of Kansas City and the entire region. The Harriman-Jewell Series has presented more than 850 events, and 19 American recital debuts by prominent artists. An Independence, MO, native and graduate of Northeast High School, Harriman was an A.B. graduate of William Jewell College in 1953, served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955, and earned his M.A. from Stanford University in 1959. He was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow from 1957 to 1958. He has studied at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon- Avon (1960) and Oxford University (1963). In 1983, William Jewell presented him with an honorary doctor of letters, recognizing his contributions to the College through performing arts presentations as well as through his teaching excellence. Harriman has been listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Education and the Directory of American Scholars. He has held positions on the board of directors of the Kansas City Arts Council, Kansas City Lyric Opera, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, and has served on the national board of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Among Harriman's many awards are the Missouri Arts Award for the Fine Arts Program from the State of Missouri (1986); the Pirouette Award by the Kansas City Ballet (1984); the Kansas City Tomorrow Alumni Association's "Performing Arts Contributor of the Year" award (1984); the Look North Award of Clay County (1985); and the county's Quality of Life Award for cultural amenities enhancement in 1983. The national honorary music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia gave its Orpheus Award to Harriman in 1985 in recognition of his distinguished contributions to music in America. Other honors include the Certificate of Merit from Sigma Alpha Iota, 1976; Order of Merit from Lambda Chi Alpha, 1984; Citation for Achievement from William Jewell College, 1997; and the distinction as one of "150 Most Influential Living Kansas Citians" by The Kansas City Star, 2000. Harriman also received the Community Service Award (2000) from the International Relations Council for his "contributions to the international field through education and exchange." In 2005, the State of Missouri named the section of H highway near William Jewell College the "Richard L. Harriman Highway" in Harriman's honor. Harriman was preceded in death by his father, Walter Harriman, and his mother, Mary Eloise Harriman, of Independence, MO, and is survived by his sister, Manetta Binney; niece, Barbara Green, and her husband, Max; niece, Elizabeth Calcara, and her husband, Carl; and nephews, Frank and Wally Binney.
Published in Kansas City Star on July 18, 2010
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