David R. Harris, Ph.D., a sociologist with a distinguished record as an innovative teacher, scholar and administrator, became the 19th president of Union College on July 1, 2018.
Most recently, he was chief academic officer at Tufts University. During his tenure, he led the creation of a strategic plan, from which emerged a program to encourage students to perform a year of service before college; and Bridge Professorships, which span two or more schools to advance research and teaching on complex issues. He also established the new position of chief diversity officer and launched Bridging Differences, an initiative to encourage informed discussion around challenging topics.
From 2003 to 2012, Harris was at Cornell University, first as a professor of sociology and later as founding director of Cornell’s Institute for the Social Sciences. From 2010 to 2011, he served as deputy assistant secretary for human services policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His scholarship has focused on race and ethnicity, social stratification and public policy.
Harris attended Northwestern University, where he earned a B.S. in human development and social policy in 1991, and a Ph.D. in sociology in 1997. He and his wife, Anne, met as undergraduates. They have three daughters.