“‘Dad, I don't think I'm going to make it. I may just come home.’ Those were my words to my father at the end of my first semester at Delaware State University. My father, Duncan Sr., always instilled in me the importance of education, that achieving it was an expectation, not an afterthought. I am the first in my family to attend college. My dad began working at Princeton in 1983, one year before I was born. Fresh out of the U.S. Air Force, what he saw as an opportunity for stability for his family turned out to be a lifetime of joyful experiences. For 39 years, my father has proudly worked at the University in public safety, from proctor to lieutenant to associate director. That day I called him from college, I was failing multiple classes. He politely said flunking out of college wasn't an option. We reflected on things he taught me over the years like how to ride a bike, how to shoot an almost perfect jump shot, how to tie a tie. But, most importantly, to always be persistent, go after your goals, and stand tall even when life knocks you down, ‘because if you can look up, you can get up!’ he said. At that moment, I felt the weight of hopelessness lifted. At my graduation, when the president announced my name to receive the Presidential Leadership Award, my dad jumped up in the stands and I heard him shout, ‘That's my son!’ That was the proudest moment of his life. He’d watched hundreds of Princeton students receive their diplomas. Now he could say his son was also a college graduate. I have fond memories of going to work with my dad, exploring the campus and meeting great minds such as Cornel West, Eddie Glaude Jr. and just recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci. In 2021, I started my career at Princeton as asst. director of regional affairs. Now I can share those adventures alongside my father. We hope to extend these experiences and life lessons to the next generation; my son, Duncan Harrison III, and two daughters Vanessa & Victoria. Thanks, Dad, for 39 years of service at Princeton University and 37 years of being a great mentor, role model and father!” — Duncan Harrison Jr., assistant director for Regional Affairs, Community and Regional Affairs.
#TellUsTigers is a series produced by Jamie Saxon, Office of Communications, and can be viewed on the @Princeton Instagram.