Dr. Sidney Harman

Industrialist, audio pioneer, dedicated philanthropist, and founder of the Catalogue, Dr. Sidney Harman died on April 12 in Washington, following a battle with acute myeloid leukemia. He was Executive Chairman of Newsweek and Chairman of the Academy for Polymathic Study at the University of Southern California. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Catalogue in Dr. Harman’s honor.

From Newsweek:

“He was a magical man, full of intellectual curiosity and a desire to see Newsweek reflect the pursuit of ideas,” said [Editor in Chief] Tina Brown. [...]

Sidney believed that business leaders should cultivate a life of the mind. He backed symphony orchestras, The Shakespeare Theatre Company/Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C., the Aspen Institute, and the Kennedy School of Government [...] He devoted himself to breaking down rigid academic disciplines that stifle the creative, integrative thinking he believed is essential to understanding a complex world.

From the Washington Post:

In Washington, Dr. Harman [...] shaped the city’s cultural landscape. He donated $20 million to build the 775-seat Sidney Harman Hall, which houses productions by the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the Washington Ballet. He also started the Harman Family Foundation, a charitable organization that gives money to benefit the arts.

Often described as a Renaissance man, Dr. Harman was a fitness maven — he walked 18 holes of golf into his 90s — and harbored diverse academic interests. [...] Referring to his advanced age, he often joked he was “a smash in the school of gerontology.”

From NPR:

Mr. ELLIS: When I brought Sidney in to talk, and the [USC] students were absolutely riveted to what he had to say, and at that time, he was a mere 90. So there was a 73-year gap between the teacher and the student.

BATES: A gap that was bridged by Sidney Harman’s ability to see, to explore, to discover right up until the end of his life.

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3 thoughts on “Dr. Sidney Harman

  1. Mr. Harman was truly an inspiration. His support of the Catalogue impacted thousands of people in a positive way including hundreds of Brainfood youth. In addition, I was always inspired and impressed by his ‘never slow down’ attitude – always learning, building new businesses, supporting important causes. He was a rare breed and he will be missed.

    Barbara – Our deepest condolences to you and your family.
    Paul Dahm

  2. Thank you, Paul and Kathleen. And thanks to all of you who have written to me personally to share your thoughts and memories. I am still collecting, so please send them along… Barbara

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