William C. Harris, Chair


William Harris has decades of diverse, progressively advanced experience building and leading major government and university institutions, strategically developing research and educational enterprises to benefit society.

Harris currently serves as President & CEO of Science Foundation Arizona. Prior to that he was the Founding Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, which transformed the universities and created the foundation for one of the most innovative economies in the E; VP for Research and Professor of Chemistry, University of South Carolina; Founding President & Executive Director, Biosphere 2 Center, Columbia University; and Associate Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University.

Within the National Science Foundation, he served as Assistant Director of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and led the reorganization of the LIGO project that provided the foundation for the research investments essential for the discovery of gravity wave; ed the development of the first 25 Science and Technology Centers (STCs); served as a hysical-Chemistry Program Director and led the initiation of a chemistry Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program that became an NSF-wide initiative.

Harris holds an Honorary Doctorate in Science from the University of Ireland and an Honorary Doctorate from Northern Arizona University,  a Wiley Lifetime Achievement Award from California Polytechnic State University, Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and a U.S. Presidential Award — Distinguished Executive in the Senior Executive Service.

Harris is an Elected member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published more than 50 reviewed publications in leading journals of chemistry, physics and spectroscopy.  He also coauthored ADRIFT: Charting our Course Back to a Great Nation.