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Wesley Harris

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Information about Wesley Harris

Profile image of Wesley Harris

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Aerospace Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak (Rib Eye)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
The Greatest Gift Is To Give.

Birthplace

Born:
10/29/1941
Birth Location:
Richmond, Virginia

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Aerospace Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak (Rib Eye)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
The Greatest Gift Is To Give.

Birthplace

Born:
10/29/1941
Birth Location:
Richmond
See how Wesley Harris is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Aerospace engineer Wesley L. Harris was born in Richmond, Virginia on October 29, 1 941. His parents, William Harris and Rosa Harris, worked in Richmond’s tobacco factories. As a child, Harris was intrigued by airplanes and learned to build different models. In the fourth grade, he won an essay contest about career goals with a paper on how he wanted to become a test pilot. After receiving his B.S. degree with honors in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia in 1964, Harris enrolled at Princeton University and graduated from there with his M.S. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences in 1966 and his Ph.D. degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences 1968.

After completing his Ph.D. at Princeton, Harris taught at the University of Virginia and at Southern University before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1972 where he served as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics. He established MIT’s first Office of Minority Education in 1975 in order to help retain minority students and improve their performance. In 1985, Harris was appointed Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut; and from 1990 to 1995, he served as vice president and chief administrative officer at the University of Tennessee Space Institute and then as associate administrator for aeronautics NASA. In 2003, Harris was named head of the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 2003.

Harris’ many honors and achievements include serving as chair and member of various boards and committees of the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Science Board, and several state governments. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Helicopter Society. The National Academy of Engineering elected Harris as a Fellow for contributions to understanding of helicopter rotor noise, for encouragement of minorities in engineering, and for service to the aeronautical industry.

Wesley L. Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 25, 2013.

See how Wesley Harris is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Wesley Harris' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about the occupations of his mother's side of the family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mother and his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his father's restaurant
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about his twin brother William Harris pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes walking through the white district to get to school as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his high school science fair project
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his aspiration as a fourth grader to be a test pilot
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Virginia-pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Virginia-pt 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentors at the University of Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes the group of African American students at the University of Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement at the University of Virginia pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about the 1963 March on Washington
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes the impact of the U.S. space program on his education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his decision to attend Princeton University for graduate school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about his mentor at Princeton University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about anti-Semitism in Ivy League schools
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his doctoral research
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris describes how he was recruited by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes the findings of his doctoral dissertation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his time at Southern University pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris explains why he left Southern University pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his time as a professor at the University of Virginia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his children and his first wife
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris describes being a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his research on helicopter rotor acoustics
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about his research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris describes his work on coastal ocean radar with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris talks about receiving the Irwin Sizer Award
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Connecticut
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris describes his time at the University of Tennessee Space Institute
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about the University of Tennessee Space Institute
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes being an associate administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes why he left the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the Lean Aerospace Initiative and Lean Sustainment Initiative
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about becoming a member of the National Academy of Engineering
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris describes his time at Arizona State University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris talks about the aeronautics and astronautics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris talks about Leon Trilling
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris describes the James Shirley incident at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about the flight tests of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris provides his predictions on the direction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about STEM education in the United States
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Wesley Harris talks about his research on the fluid dynamics of blood flow pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Wesley Harris describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Wesley Harris reflects on his life
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Wesley Harris reflects on his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Wesley Harris talks about his family
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Wesley Harris talks about his involvement in football during high school pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Wesley Harris talks about how he would like to be remembered