Christopher Harris Named Class of 2021 Valedictorian

Saint Mary’s is pleased to announce that Christopher Harris has been selected as valedictorian of the Class of 2021 for his outstanding academic achievements and service to the SMC community. Harris, a Politics major with a minor in History, developed a passion for foreign affairs through his studies. After interning on Capitol Hill with the Panetta Institute, he narrowed that passion to counterterrorism and national security. Upon graduation, he plans to work for the federal government in Washington, D.C., as a counterterrorism intelligence officer.

Harris was thrilled to learn he’d been named valedictorian. “I immediately called my family to let my mom and sister know. Right after that, I called my girlfriend, Ivett, to give her the good news. I also sent up a quick prayer to my dad up in heaven. I hope he’s proud of what I’ve done and will do in the future. That span of five minutes was absolutely one of the highlights of my entire life.”

Born in Roseville, California, Harris enjoyed his time in his major. “The Politics Department at Saint Mary’s College is of unparalleled quality. From its extremely dedicated faculty to its highly engaging course content, the department prepares students for careers in public service in ways very few programs can,” he said.

Harris earned his Panetta Institute Congressional Internship in his junior year. “Out of all the valuable lessons learned and connections made during my time as a Politics major, my time interning in Washington, D.C., was truly my favorite. During the summer, my fellow interns and I received lectures from various public sector leaders, including former Secretary of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon E. Panetta. After training, we moved to Capitol Hill for a semester-long internship in the House of Representatives, learning about the legislative process while President Trump’s impeachment played out before our very eyes. This incredible experience would not have been possible without the support and guidance I received from the Politics Department.” 

“Ten years from now,” Harris said, “I hope to be working at the Department of Defense or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. I want to wake up every day and work tirelessly to protect the American people from those who seek to do us harm.” 

Associate Dean of Students James Sciuto praised Harris for his dedication to Saint Mary’s. “Among many talented and worthy candidates, the Associated Student Senior Senators selected Christopher due to his combination of student involvement and his important message that graduation is only the beginning for the wonderful impact this special Class of 2021 will have on the world,” Sciuto said.

Harris’ address will be recorded and can be watched on the Commencement 2021 website beginning Friday, May 21. Saint Mary’s congratulates Harris and can’t wait to see what he does next.