September 28, 2016

Remembering Webster alumnus Trevor Harris

Webster University lost a well-respected and loved alumnus this summer.

Trevor J. Harris, 25, was a 2013 graduate from Webster’s the School of Communications. He passed away at his residence in Morrisville, Vermont, June 1.

Trevor’s father, John Harris III, lives in a small community an hour from the Webster Groves campus and said Webster professors stayed the afternoon while Housing & Residential Life staffers fought summer traffic to get to the visitation for his son June 8.

“In a community of 12,000 to 14,000 people, to have kids come through the line and say, ‘Yeah, I flew in today from L.A., or ‘I flew in from New York.’ It was just amazing,” John said.

While at Webster, Trevor worked for Housing & Residential Life as a desk attendant, desk manager and resident assistant.

University Center director Katie Knetzer was Trevor’s supervisor in Residential Life during his underclassman years. She said Trevor would juxtapose his small town upbringing against the “big city” life at Webster.

“He kind of mocked himself a little bit with his trucker hats and his style of dress,” Knetzer said.

Associate Dean of Students John Buck said Trevor’s  work as a resident advisor used “humor, sarcasm, and clever memes” to connect students on his upperclassmen floor of East Hall.

Programs like “How to be a Student Leader” and “The Importance of Sleep” helped Trevor win the Community Builder Award – Upperclassman Floor “Rezzie.” The award is given to outstanding student employees in the housing department each year.

Trevor received the grand prize for the television pilot-drama section in the 2013 New York Screenplay as a scriptwriting major.

His winning screenplay “All or Nothing,” was about a family man – and bookie – in Chicago who tries to run a business while police and criminals attempt to shut it down.

Trevor told The Journal in October 2013 he finished the award-winning script in just a few days, sending it out to friends and peers before the contest.

“Throw it in the world, do something with it. Don’t just let it sit there, let other people read it, get feedback and make your product stronger or your art, just don’t let it sit there gaining dust,” Trevor said.

Trevor also founded and emceed Webster Stand Up night in 2012, assembling a dozen student comedians to entertain an audience of 75 people.

“He was definitely always a person with an amazing sense of humor and he really liked to bring that in and just kind of lighten the mood. He could talk off-the-cuff, for sure,” Knetzer said.

Film program graduate Brandon McLaughlin said Trevor was the only film major he knew of who offered to help other film majors write their screenplays.

Trevor told McLaughlin he wore 3-D glasses on campus during McLaughlin’s freshman year because they were a “conversation starter.”

“And as you can tell, they suited him. And I actually have a character in some of my recent works who wears 3-D glasses the same way – that was inspired by Trevor,” McLaughlin said.

As founder of Webster Tye Day in 2011, Trevor’s team succeeded in instructing over 500 students to dye T-shirts.

“They gave him some money and he worked out the logistics and they even had it a second year,” John said.

Although Trevor’s future as a scriptwriter was very different from residence hall work, Knetzer said he was passionate about being responsible for the things he was put in charge of at the residence hall desk.

“He was very committed and I think when he put his name on something and he was responsible for something he saw it through without question,” Knetzer said.

John said Trevor loved Webster and thanked all who meant so much to his son.

“Thank you for the outpouring of support, for people remembering him, and take advantage of every opportunity as a student. And remember, there’s nothing on earth you can’t talk to us about,” John said.

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