When Rebecca Clary Harris’ classmates remember her, they think of her positive attitude and her ever-present smile.
Rebecca Clary Harris, M.D., in her cap and gown at the 2005 graduation ceremony.
“She made the most out of every moment, brought out the good in everything and always found a reason to be happy and smile,” said Katrina Kandra McLellan, M’05. “Ever since I met her, I’ve wanted to be more like her. I think she taught us all how to be better people.”
Becca — as she was known to her friends — had been the third generation of her family to attend the medical school, and was beloved by her classmates and faculty. In 2007, just two years after their graduation from medical school, Becca’s classmates were shocked to learn that she had been killed in an accident. Soon after, her classmates began to make gifts in her memory, creating what they see as a living memorial to her remarkable character as well as to her service and devotion to the field of medicine, particularly melanoma research.
You can help the scholarship to grow over time by making a gift in Becca’s memory.
They recently hit the $10,000 mark and so, for the first time, the fund will be used this fall to award a scholarship to an altruistic student who embodies the qualities of kindness, compassion, unguarded optimism and unquestionable character that made Becca who she was. Preference will be given to someone who has completed post-baccalaureate graduate training in physiology or who intends to pursue melanoma research.
Becca’s classmates had made their gifts to the fund quietly, unbeknownst even to her family. Once the scholarship was ready to be awarded, they asked the family to come together so they could share what had been accomplished in Becca’s memory. Amidst the tears and memories, Becca’s legacy lived on.
At the gathering, her classmates presented her family with a memory book, filled with photos and reminiscences of Becca. For the album, Byrd Davenport, M’05, wrote “As her friends and classmates we are in a position to try to embody, so far as we can, the good things Becca did, and the way she lived. She really was inspiring. And will remain so.”
In April 2012, Becca’s friends surprised her family with the news that they had created a scholarship in her name. Pictured, from left to right: Becca’s sister Margaret Clary, her mother Kay Clary, classmate Nicole Kelleher-Linkonis, Becca’s husband Justin Harris, classmates Meera Pahuja Mate and Katrina Kandra McLellan, Becca’s sister Kathryn Clary Angus, her father Dr. Richard Clary, M’74, classmates Libby Sherwin, Janae Johnson Sureja and Katherine Johnson, and Becca’s brother-in-law Jason Angus.