Lillian Hucke ’24  |   Published March 31, 2021

Senior Profile: Zach Harris

Tennis standout has embraced how special Monmouth College is.

MONMOUTH, Ill.Zach Harris’ first reaction to Monmouth College four years ago turned out to be spot on.

ZACH HARRIS: Senior has loved the College from his first visit and is happy to call Monmouth home... ZACH HARRIS: Senior has loved the College from his first visit and is happy to call Monmouth home.“I loved the atmosphere, and it was beautiful,” said Harris, a senior from Mascoutah, Illinois. “I knew it was the place I wanted to be.”

A double major in communication studies and public relations, Harris plans to spend this summer the same way he has the last three – at the residential North Star Camp for Boys in Hayward, Wisconsin. Then he will move to Chicago to be part of the AmeriCorps-run City Year program. Harris will be placed in a school where he will mentor and tutor struggling students, fulfilling his passion for helping others.

In addition to his studies and his successful career on the Fighting Scots men’s tennis team, Harris appreciates Monmouth because of the relationships he’s made. One of his fondest memories is meeting people who taught him “to love Monmouth and not take it for granted,” such as Sagar Phapa ’18, who consistently emphasized to Harris how special Monmouth College is.

“The way Phapa talked about Monmouth showed me how much I should care about this place,” said Harris.

Another influential person in Harris’s college career was communication studies professor Robert Hinck, who taught six of Harris’s classes. They often talked outside of class and played tennis together.

“Having such a close connection with my professors made my Monmouth experience hundreds times better,” said Harris. “It encouraged me to better myself and reach my full potential.”

‘Incredibly grateful’

Although this school year is different from any other, Harris still collected plenty of fond memories. He said a motto from Monmouth tennis coach Brian Jordan has helped: “Embrace the grind.”

The grind has continued this year, despite Harris’s canceled junior season. Harris said he is “incredibly grateful” to have a senior season, even if it means playing fewer matches and missing the overnight experiences with the team.

“Having such a close connection with my professors made my Monmouth experience hundreds times better. It encouraged me to better myself and reach my full potential.” Zach Harris

“We are really lucky to get to play this season.” said Harris. “As long as we get to play, I’m happy.”

In addition to competing in tennis, Harris is a speech tutor, a first-year mentor, a writer for The Courier student newspaper and a member of the COVID-19 relief team.

Two of his favorite Monmouth activities outside of class include spending time with his friends, whether it’s supporting them at athletic events or eating with them in the cafeteria.

“One of the coolest things about this place is that some of your best friends could be on a variety of teams,” said Harris. “You’re not confined to be friends with just the people on your team.”

Whether it’s a quick lunch or a late-night, after-practice meal, Harris said he especially loves the connections and memories he has made in the cafeteria with his friends.

“The conversations you have might seem stupid in the moment, but these are the conversations we will look back on and cherish,” he said.

Despite the interruptions to his senior year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Harris said he would not want to be anywhere else.

“There may be a lot of restrictions, but Monmouth College is still home,” he said.

Just like he thought it would be the first day he set foot on campus.

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