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The staff at Science Foundation Arizona bring a wide range of expertise and diverse backgrounds in the scientific, medical, education and engineering fields.

William C. Harris
Founding President and CEO

Dr. Harris was the founding president and chief executive officer of Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz).

Prior to joining SFAz, Dr. William C. Harris was in Ireland serving 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. Immediately prior to going to Ireland, Dr. 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.

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Dr. Harris served at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1978 to 1996, including as the director for mathematical and physical sciences (1991-1996). He was responsible for federal grants appropriation of $750 million.  He also established 25 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 and it became an NSF-wide activity.

In 2005, Dr. Harris was elected a member of the Irish Royal Academy, and received the Wiley Lifetime Achievement Award from California Polytechnic State University.  He 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.

Dr. Harris earned his undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary, and received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina.

Leonard W. Fine
Founding SFAz Fellow

Dr. Fine was formerly a Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Columbia University where he spent most of his academic career.  Although his professional interests include applied research in polymer chemistry and engineering materials stimulated by eight years in industry, his career has been largely defined by concerns for teaching undergraduate students, and issues and policy in science and engineering education.  

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His published materials are numerous and include: textbooks, “Chemistry for Scientists and Engineers” (Brooks/Cole); manuals on infrared spectroscopy; and software on spectroscopic methods, nanoscale materials, and science & engineering.

The history of science and technology has played an important role in his professional perspectives.   Dr. Fine counts William Bailey and Marjorie Gardner among those who helped forge his philosophy of research and teaching.   He received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Marietta College, Marietta Ohio and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Monica Sorenson
Monica Sorenson Executive Assistant to President/CEO
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