M. Judd Harmon, the first dean of Utah State Universityâ€™s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and a professor of Political Science at USU for more than thirty years, died on March 17 at Logan Regional Hospital after a brief illness. He was ninety-three. Dr. Harmon was born in Tremonton, Utah, on August 7, 1917, and moved with his parents, Mont and Alice Judd Harmon, to Willard and later Brigham City, where he graduated high school and soon afterward married his high school sweetheart, Helen Gleave, in 1936. Dr. and Mrs. Harmon were married for seventy-four years, and most recently lived together at Legacy House in Logan.
Before Americaâ€™s entry into World War II, Dr. Harmon worked in the grocery business, first with Safeway and later as manager of the first Albertsonâ€™s grocery store in Caldwell, Idaho. He later served in the US Navy. After his discharge he attended USU (then called Utah State Agricultural College) on the GI Bill, expecting to become an elementary school teacher, like his parents before him, after receiving his Bachelorâ€™s degree. He completed that degree in two years and was valedictorian of his graduating class in 1948. Encouraged by his academic success as an undergraduate, he moved with Mrs. Harmon and their two young sons, Scott and Michael, to Madison, Wisconsin, where he received his Masterâ€™s and PhD degrees in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin.
In 1951, he accepted a faculty appointment in the Political Science Department at USU, where he taught for the next 32 years. On two separate occasions he was named the Universityâ€™s Instructor of the Year, and taught courses in European and American political thought, American government, and several other subjects in the Department. He was later appointed head of the Political Science Department, then Dean of the College of Social Sciences, and finally Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. He also served as a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin and Deep Springs College in California.
In addition to his distinguished teaching and administrative career at USU, Dr. Harmon was the author of one book and editor of another (Essays on the U.S. Constitution), in addition to many scholarly articles and monographs. The professional accomplishment of which he was perhaps proudest was the publication, in 1964, of a now-classic textbook on European political philosophy, Political Thought: From Plato to the Present. The book has remained in print in the same edition by McGraw-Hill Book Company for forty-seven consecutive years. Dr. Harmon received yet another (modest) royalty check earlier this month.
On his retirement from USU in 1983, Dr. Harmon and Mrs. Harmon, though still based in Logan, often traveled to countries throughout Europe, Africa, as well as to Australia and New Zealand. He is also a past president of the Logan Golf and Country Club. In recent years the physical infirmities of advancing age limited their travels, although they continued to lead an active social life in Logan, where they had many friends. Dr. Harmon pursued until just a few days before his death several passions: reading approximately one book per day on almost any imaginable subject, managing (successfully) his stock portfolio, and watching films, the Utah Jazz, and the Aggies on television.
Dr. Harmon is survived by his wife and devoted partner, Helen Gleave Harmon, who, during the 1950s and 1960s served as USUâ€™s acquisitions librarian. His sister Joan Horsley (also a USU alumna and former concert mistress of the USU orchestra in the 1950s), resides in Hamilton, Montana. Dr. and Mrs. Harmon have two sons: Scott, who serves as Director of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Maryland; and Michael, Professor Emeritus of Public Administration at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Judd and Helen Harmon also have three grandsonsâ€”David, Paul, and Jason Harmonâ€”and five great grandchildren.
A memorial service for Dr. Harmon will be held at the Logan Golf and Country Club, 710 North 1500 East, at 3:00pm, on Wednesday, March 23. In lieu of flowers, please send any contributions to M. Judd and Helen G. Harmon Scholarship in HASS, 1420 Old Main Hill, Logan, Utah, 84322. Condoleces may be sent to the family at Allen Mortuaries.