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Oct. 14, 2011
By Brittany Keithley, media relations assistant
Dr. Patrick Harr, a volunteer physician for Northwest Missouri State University athletics teams since 1974, will serve as the 2011 Homecoming parade grand marshal, the University's homecoming committee has announced.
Last fall, Harr covered his 1,000th football game as a volunteer team physician for both the Northwest Bearcats and Maryville High School Spoofhound teams. He has donated medical care for Bearcat athletes over the past 38 years including pre-season physicals, evening clinic hours in the athletic training room as well as being present on the sidelines at home and away football and basketball games.
"Our family has been involved with Northwest in one way or another since 1944 when my dad came to Northwest to teach, and he was a part of making homecoming what it is today," Harr said. "My roots are deep within Northwest and to be able to be the grand marshal for an event like this is beyond words because Homecoming has been such an integral part of our family for half a century, and it makes it that much more special."
Harr's commitment and dedication to the Northwest athletics program as well as his service to the University and Maryville community made him a worthy selection to be this year's grand marshal, according to the Homecoming committee.
"Dr. Harr bleeds green," Homecoming co-chair Bryce Coffendaffer said. "He never misses a game and cares deeply about the total health of our athletes, coaches and fans. He has quietly worked in the background to ensure our games are safe for both the Bearcats and our opponents. He willingly assists an injured opponent when called upon and never considers the fact that they are our opponent only that the player is injured and needs care."
Harr attended Northwest in the 1960s in addition to attending Horace Mann Laboratory School as a child. He attended medical school at the University of Missouri before returning to Maryville to serve the community as a medical practitioner. He was inducted into the Missouri Athletic Trainers' Association Sports Medicine Hall of Fame in 1995 and remains committed to serving the Maryville community and its athletes.
"I go to virtually every away game for football and basketball even though I am not on staff," Harr said. "I spend a lot of time taking care of students and athletes, and to me it's a passion. We talk a lot about family at Northwest and I have been there long enough that I am taking care of kids of parents that I took care of. Working with these second generation students makes it all the more special."
Harr's father, Dr. John Harr, who served as chair of the history department for many years and helped develop Northwest's Homecoming into what it is today. Beginning in 1947 and continuing as the Homecoming faculty chairman for 20 years, John Harr enlisted the help of student groups, Student Senate and the Greek community to build floats, decorate houses and create skits and songs for the newly introduced Variety Show. The two-day Homecoming celebration included a queen contest, several dances, pep rally, bonfire, house decoration contest and a concession stand at the football game.
The grand marshal is selected by a committee of Homecoming executive board members, Homecoming advisors and a representative from the Office of University Advancement. Nominations are open to retired and current faculty or staff members, current students, alumni and friends of Northwest. The selection is based on the individual's connection to the University, contributions and the way they exemplify the Bearcat spirit.
As grand marshal, Harr will lead the parade and participate in Homecoming activities throughout the week. The parade begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 22, at the corner of Ray and College avenues and proceeds east to the University entrance at Fourth Street, continues east on Fourth Street to Main Street, past the courthouse square to Market Street.
Additionally, the public is invited to greet and congratulate Harr in the lobby of the Lamkin Activity Center, immediately after the Bearcat football game. Light snacks, cookies and water will be served.
Northwest will celebrate its 2011 Homecoming week, "Once Upon a Time," Oct. 16-23. Events are open to all Northwest students, alumni, faculty, staff, families, friends and community members. For more information, click here.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468