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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943



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Harris Named Recipient of SGA Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 21, 2017) – Warrensburg attorney Doug Harris was named the 32nd recipient of the James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award by the University of Central Missouri Student Government Association in a ceremony Thursday evening, April 20, in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library on the UCM campus.

Harris received the award for his longtime commitment to local government in Johnson County, Mo. as attorney for local government entities. He also was recognized for his ongoing support of the UCM Mock Trial team as advisor.

SGA Harris

Warrensburg attorney Doug Harris, second from left, received the UCM Student Government Association’s James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award.  Joining in the presentation of the award were, left to right, UCM President Chuck Ambrose, SGA President Luke Hawley and SGA Vice President Orie Hemme.

In receiving the award, Harris explained that his interest in the practice of public law began during his second year of law school with a conversation with Timothy Heinz, dean of the University of Missouri School of Law. Heinz encouraged Harris to take a course in local government, which inspired Harris to practice public law, eventually becoming Warrensburg city attorney. He currently serves as legal counsel for 14 cities and governmental districts.

“What I do makes a difference in each of those communities,” Harris said. “Seeing the change that public service can make in the lives of the people in those communities is just as important to a happy work life as a good paycheck.”

Harris also encouraged his audience to “pay it forward. Be ready to share your experience with others and to let them benefit from the wisdom of your failures and your successes. You never know how the simplest piece of your experience, imparted to someone else, can change a life.”

A Warrensburg native, Harris is a 1997 cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, graduating in the top five percent of the previous five graduating classes. He served on the editorial board of the Missouri Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Upon graduation from law school, Harris returned to Warrensburg and joined his father, the late Robert Harris, in forming the law firm of Harris and Harris, LLC. Doug Harris currently is joined by Barry Gilbert and Adam Sommer in the firm of  Harris Harris and Gilbert, LLC.

Harris is an adjunct faculty member at UCM and past president of the Johnson County Bar Association. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Family Law Section and has taught continuing legal education courses for the Missouri Bar in the area of family law.

The James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award honors the legacy of the late James C. Kirkpatrick, who served as Missouri’s secretary of state from 1965 to 1985, establishing the Missouri record for tenure of an elected state officeholder. An alumnus of UCM and former member and president of the university’s Board of Regents, Kirkpatrick was named UCM’s Distinguished University Fellow upon his retirement and return to Warrensburg from Jefferson City.

Past recipients of the award include U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton, U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, U.S. Sen. John Danforth, Gov. Mel Carnahan, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and Missouri State Sen. David Pearce.