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Pepperdine Caruso Law Mourns the Loss of Alumnus Joel Harris

The entire Pepperdine Caruso Law community is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Class of 2020 graduate Joel R. Harris on October 21 as the result of a traffic accident. We offer our heartfelt and deepest condolences to Joel's family and loved ones.

A devoted member of the Caruso Law student body for the past three years, Joel served as an American Bar Association Student Representative, Student Bar Association Philanthropy Chair, and was president of the Intellectual Property Association. Joel was loved not only by his classmates but by everyone who knew him. He is remembered as a generous person and friend who instilled confidence in his peers. Joel once said, "All I want is to encourage people to invest care and time into pursuing their goals."

Joel was a person of many impressive accomplishments, not only as a student, but also as a member of the United States military. From 2007–2013, Joel served in the U.S. Army, and he was very involved in the Veterans Legal Society at Pepperdine.

As we mourn Joel's loss as a community, Dean Paul Caron shared, "Joel was a wonderful person and leader at Caruso School of Law: strong, caring, and humble. He was the kind of person everyone naturally gravitated to and the kind of person you respected more and more as you got to know him better. Our heartbreak at his loss is deep and long lasting."

As a law school known for its focus on community, we must now begin a time of mourning by overcoming the challenges to connecting with one another. We do this by reaching out through prayer to a God who is familiar with grief and comforts the downhearted and with our classmates, colleagues, faculty, and staff.

In tribute to Joel, the law community is invited to a Celebration of Life for Joel, which will be held on Wednesday, November 11 (Veteran's Day), from 4:30-6:00pm. Additional information on this celebration will be forthcoming. In honor of Joel, the flags at Pepperdine University will be raised at half-staff tomorrow, October 28.

Joel's family has set up a Go-Fund Me page in loving memory of Joel, which may be found here. To reach Joel's family with condolences, please contact Mason Folse.

If there are any students who need additional support following Joel's passing, the University Counseling Center, which holds regular weekly grief groups, has offered to hold a time specifically for the law community to gather. Please reach out to Dr. Nivla Fitzpatrick.

Pastoral care is also available by contacting University chaplain Sara Barton (310.506.4275). For additional support or to locate a mental health professional in your community, reach out to the Pepperdine Student Care Team.