Donald Harris is a Jamaican-American professor of economics at Stanford University. He is well-known as the father of senator Kamala Harris, who was a contender for the Democratic nomination for the American 2020 Presidential Elections. Eventually, Joe Biden won the nomination, and he chose Kamala as his running-mate.
Personal Life : Family & Education
- Donald Harris was born and raised in Jamaica but is now a naturalized citizen of the United States of America.
- He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University College of the West Indies in 1960.
- In 1961, Donald emigrated to the United States of America, seeking to continue his studies in economics at the University of California Berkeley. Here, he graduated with a Ph.D. in 1966.
- While studying at the University of California Berkeley, Donald was also very invested in the civil rights movement. Through this setting, he met the woman who would become his wife, Shyamala Gopalan, a fellow Berkeley student and activist.
- Shyamala, born in the province of Madras in India would go on to become a prestigious breast cancer researcher. Shyamala succumbed to colon cancer in 2009.
- Donald had two daughters with Shyamala: Kamala, born on October 20, 1964, now a lawyer, politician and a senator; and Maya Harris, born on January 30, 1967, who is also a lawyer and a public policy advocate.
- Shyamala and Donald got divorced in 1971 when their elder daughter Kamala was seven and their younger one, Maya, was four. Shyamala was given full custody of the two children.
- Kamala and her younger sister Maya continued to visit their father occasionally during summers and holidays. But their mother continued to be the central figure in the sisters’ lives.
Job, Salary & Net Worth :
- After graduating from the University of California Berkeley, Donald worked as a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. While there, he was awarded tenure only three years after graduating from Berkeley.
- In 1972, he was invited to join the faculty at the prestigious Stanford University.
- During his long stint at Stanford, Donald led the ‘Alternative Approaches to Economic Analysis’ program, and taught the famous ‘Theory of Capitalist Development’ course.
- His main research focus was on an understanding and analysis of the process of capital accumulation.
- He retired from Stanford in 1998, but still holds the prestigious title of Emeritus Professor there.
Consulting and Publications Work :
- Donald has numerous publications and has traveled extensively around the world, attending conferences and participating in research. He has also led seminars and lectures from Zambia to Guatemala to Hong Kong to Italy.
- He has also served as an economic consultant and economic adviser to several Jamaican prime ministers.
- Donald has also worked as a consultant for various agencies of international renown, like the United Nations and the World Bank.
Fun Facts, Height & Trivia :
- Donald received numerous fellowships and awards throughout his academic career, including the Shell Scholar in Jamaica in 1957. He was also twice named a Fulbright Scholar: in Brazil in 1990 & 1991; and in Mexico in 1992.
- He was very much displeased with a pot-smoking comment made by his daughter, senator Kamala Harris, as he thought it was disrespectful to their Jamaican heritage.
- Both of Donald’s daughters have Tamil (Indian-origin) names, in accordance with their mother’s heritage.