After his first 123 days on the job, the University of San Diego’s Dr. James T. Harris III will be formally inaugurated as the University of San Diego’s fourth president at a formal community-wide Installation Ceremony on the campus scheduled for Friday, December 4th at 2 p.m. in the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Inauguration week kicks-off tonight with the Partners for Change Community Colloquium featuring Dr. Ira Harkavy, assistant vice president and founding director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday, December 2, President Harris will participate in the daylong USD in CommUNITY Day of Service event at the Montgomery Middle School Community Garden, 2470 Ulric Street, San Diego, 92111. From 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Dr. Harris will join nearly 100 USD students, employees, alumni and friends as volunteers renovate the school’s beloved garden.

USD in CommUNITY organizers have ambitiously planned to complete five major projects including building a large garden shed, undergrounding the garden’s irrigation system, building a work bench complete with a roofing system designed to collect rain water, replacing a falling pergola, and rebuilding plant beds.

The complete Inauguration Week schedule includes:

Monday, November 30: Partners for Change featuring Dr. Ira Harkavy, 4 p.m.,
Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre

Tuesday, December 1: Torero Tuesday: National Day of Giving, On-line to support USD student scholars and programs

Wednesday, December 2: USD in CommUNITY Day at the Montgomery Middle School Garden, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Media Welcome

Thursday, December 3: President Harris Inauguration Mass, 5 - 6 p.m., Founders Chapel

Friday, December 4: President Harris Installation Ceremony, 2 – 3:30 p.m., Jenny Craig Pavilion, followed by campus-wide reception, Media Welcome

Sunday, December 6: Pre-game Torero Tailgate, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., and City Championship Men’s Basketball game vs. SDSU, 2 p.m., Petco Park, Media Welcome

Friday’s Installation Ceremony at the Jenny Craig Pavilion begins with a formal processional that will include delegates from many Catholic colleges and universities as well as representatives from institutions with which Dr. Harris has been affiliated. Delegates will join members of the USD Board of Trustees, USD executive officers, deans, faculty and community leaders. Following the formal installation, Harris will deliver the Presidential Address. A reception has been planned for the community immediately following the ceremony.

In his first four months at USD, Harris has hosted or participated in hundreds of meetings with members of the campus community, alumni, parents, elected officials and USD partners. From the beautiful Linda Vista campus to meetings in Tokyo and Washington, D.C. where he accepted the prestigious Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, Harris has been fully engaged in learning about USD as he listens to those who know the campus well.

At USD, Harris recently launched a strategic planning process with the goal of creating an institutional vision for 2024, the 75th anniversary of the university. As a Catholic university committed to social justice, the strategic plan will place importance on matters at the forefront of the Catholic Church including care for all creation.

Additionally, with his proven track record of creating charter schools and anchor institutions, Harris plans to bring his collaborative approach to USD and Linda Vista. A highlight of Presidential Inauguration Week events includes a special community service project with longtime USD partner Montgomery Middle School.

As Chair-elect of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Harris is particularly interested in three key higher education issues affecting virtually every American college or university - affordability, accessibility and accountability.

Dr. Harris is USD’s fourth president since the 1972 merger of the San Diego College for Women and the University of San Diego College for Men and School of Law. Previous USD presidents include the late Dr. Author Hughes, 1972 to 1996; Dr. Alice B. Hayes, 1996 to 2003; and Dr. Mary E. Lyons, 2003 to July 2015.

Dr. Harris earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo, a master’s degree in educational administration from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and his doctorate in education from Pennsylvania State University. All three of his alma maters have honored him for his work in education. In 2013, he received The Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn State for his support of the university and his role in bridging the gap between Widener and the city of Chester. Harris has been married to his college sweetheart, Mary, for more than 30 years. The Harrises have two adult sons.








About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Pamela Gray Payton
(619) 260-4681