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Science Foundation Arizona’s President William C. Harris Recognized with an Honorary Doctoral Degree from NAU
PHOENIX (Dec. 14, 2012) – Science Foundation Arizona’s (SFAz) President and CEO William C. Harris will be recognized during NAU’s fall commencement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 14, with an honorary doctoral degree in humane letters.
Since 2006, Harris has led the nonprofit public-private partnership that serves as a catalyst for investments in research and education throughout Arizona while strengthening its economic future. He’s guided SFAz through the creation of strategic programs that have helped to make a significant impact on Arizona’s research, innovation and economic development, helping ensure Arizona’s place in a 21st Century global economy. At NAU, he has participated in the president’s speaker series and serves on the Four Corner Sustainable Futures Initiative Steering Committee that works with tribal governments and communities to create sustainable economic development activities in the region. He is also co-author of the new book “ADRIFT: Charting Our Course Back to a Great Nation,” which discusses education, innovation and revitalizing the American economy.
“It’s an extraordinary honor to receive this recognition from NAU,” said Harris. “Through Science Foundation Arizona, we’ve been able to lead strategically targeted investments in grant programs for R&D partnerships, technology commercialization and STEM education, which have illustrated a steadily increasing return on investment to Arizona during the past five years. I believe this degree reflects the tremendous effort of our staff and board.”
Harris has more than 25 years of experience leading major government and university institutions and strategically developing research and educational enterprises to benefit the public. Prior to joining SFAz, Harris served as director general of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), a new Irish agency that helped facilitate tremendous growth in Ireland’s R&D sector during Harris’ tenure. Prior to his tenure in Ireland, Harris was vice president of research and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of South Carolina (USC). There he oversaw research activities throughout the USC system, several interdisciplinary centers and institutes, the USC Research Foundation and sponsored research programs.
Harris also served at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) for 20 years, including his role as the director for mathematical and physical sciences. He was responsible for federal grants appropriation of $750 million per year. He also established the first 25 NSF Science and Technology Centers to support investigative, interdisciplinary research by multi-university consortia. Earlier in his career, he catalyzed the Research Experience for Undergraduates program in the chemistry division which became an NSF-wide activity.
Harris has authored more than 50 research papers and review articles in spectroscopy and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He earned his undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary and received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina.
About Science Foundation Arizona
Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization initiated in 2006 by the Greater Phoenix Leadership Inc., Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty in conjunction with the executive and legislative branches of state government. SFAz serves as a catalyst for high-wage, knowledge-based jobs and economic diversity through administration and strict oversight of research, development and education grants to public education and other non-profit research performing institutions. For more information, visit www.sfaz.org.