On his last day covering racing for the Associated Press, Mike Harris was honored by New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Franklin Pierce University with a scholarship recognizing his accomplishments in journalism.

Dr. James Birge, president of Franklin Pierce University, and Dr. Kristen Nevious, director of the school's Fitzwater Center, were on hand for the scholarship dedication ceremony.

"We're grateful for your work and all the good things you've done for sports journalism," Dr. Birge said, presenting Harris with an endorsed copy of former Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater's book Call The Briefing!: Bush and Reagan.

"This is an incredible honor," said Harris. "It's going to be a pleasure to be involved in this."

The Michael Harris Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund will go into effect for the upcoming fall semester. It will be awarded to a junior or senior majoring in Mass Communications who has achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or better and has a proven financial need. The student will have demonstrated active participation and leadership in the Fitzwater Center's Pierce Media Group Sports Center. The scholarship recipient will be selected by Dr. Nevious.

"The Fitzwater Center and Franklin Pierce University are honored to be part of this tribute to a legend in sports journalism," said Dr. Nevious. "We know that this will help worthy, young students pursue their dream careers."

Franklin Pierce University's Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication houses the University's Mass Communications department, one of only two colleges in New Hampshire with Associated Press accreditation. The Center is named for Marlin Fitzwater, who served as press secretary to presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Harris is retiring from AP reporting after 41 years of covering motorsports.

"Honestly those of you who are in this room, who I know and have been around for so many years, I'm going to miss all of you," said Harris.

The speedway also presented Harris with a racing helmet signed by the entire field of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. A separate helmet signed by the field will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the scholarship fund.