1997 Beberman Award Winner: Max Harnish & his Parents

The late Rear Admiral Max Harnish, University Laboratory High School Class of 1937; Max's step-mother, the late. Alice Harnish, who taught both Latin and English at Uni; and Max's father, the late Wilber Harnish, who taught Chemistry and Physics at Uni and was head of the Uni Science Department from 1925 to 1955 were honored with the Beberman Award in 1997. The U.S. Navy awarded Max the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and two Gold Stars in lieu of the Second and Third Air Medals, and the Navy Unit Commendation Medal with one star. He later was honored with some 20 other commendations, including the Decorated Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Medal Max assumed command of Fighter Squadron 21, operating in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets with jet-fighter aircraft, in the early 1950s. In 1958, he returned to the Navy Department for duty in the Special Projects Office, where he served in the Plans Division for the development of the Polaris weapon system. In 1966, he became the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. RANGER, during which time the ship was involved in strikes against enemy forces in North Viet Nam. Harnish was awarded the Legion of Merit, and his ship, The RANGER, was selected "Ship of the Year" by Our Navy magazine. In September 1967, he became Director of the Office of Program Appraisal for the U.S. Navy. Following his retirement, he worked with Bechtel, Inc., in San Francisco. He died on September 19, 1979, following a short battle with cancer. Alice Harnish, who was 92 in 1997 when the award was presented, taught English at Uni from 1929 to 1932 and Latin in 1960 and 1961. She taught at many other schools, including Champaign Central, where she was on the faculty from 1961 to 1971. She also taught rhetoric at the University of Illinois. The late Wilber Harnish taught Science at Uni for some 20 years. He was born on a farm near Carlisle, PA, in 1886. He attended a rural brick school for three or four years and then a grade school in town for five years. When he finished 8th grade, he decided to go to work at a wheel factory. After a year and a half, he decided to return to school and by means of concentrated study was able to complete high school in two and a half years and made plans to attend law school, which he ultimately did not pursue. From 1910, Wilber taught at several schools in Michigan and Illinois before coming to Uni in 1925. He completed some 15 units of graduate credit at the U of I, mostly in education but also in Physics and one in chemistry.

Congratulations to the Harnish Family, the 1997 Max Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

Footer with a Search Form