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Walter Harris, Jr., Ph.D., Appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Loyola press release - March 18, 2003

(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans President Bernard P. Knoth, S.J., announced the appointment of Walter Harris, Jr., Ph.D., as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective summer 2003.

In 2002, Harris was appointed senior executive fellow at the University of North Carolina (UNC) System Office in Chapel Hill where he works with the Office of Public Affairs and University Advancement on state and federal issues pertinent to higher education.

Before joining UNC, Harris served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of music at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in Durham where he continues to hold a faculty appointment. During his tenure in office at NCCU, he chaired the university’s most comprehensive strategic planning process ever and worked with the faculty to rewrite the tenure and promotion policies and procedures for the first time in nearly two decades. Under his leadership, graduate studies were restructured in order to elevate graduate programs and bring emphasis to the university’s research enterprise and the first Board of Trustees/Board of Governors-approved campus tuition plan was developed, which generated tuition revenue on top of the regular across-the-board system tuition increase.

Harris, a native of Selma, Ala., began his outstanding career in higher education administration at Knoxville College in Tennessee in 1969 where he spent 11 years in a variety of positions including chair of the Department of Arts and Music, director of choral activities, and director of the Division of Arts and Humanities. Harris spent the next 20 years at Arizona State University in Tempe where he held various teaching and administrative positions including coordinator of the outreach program and coordinator of undergraduate advisement in the School of Music. He was later appointed assistant dean, acting dean, and associate dean of the College of Fine Arts. While there he rose through the administrative ranks to become assistant vice president of academic affairs and eventually vice provost of academic affairs, a position he held for eight years.

Not only are his administrative accomplishments impressive, Harris’ talents as a musician and performer are equally notable. Having studied choral conducting with some of the leading conductors of our time, including Robert Shaw, Charles Hirt, and Joseph Flummerfeldt, his own choirs have been especially fine ensembles. He has performed throughout the country with his college, civic, and other choirs and has performed internationally with a number of choral ensembles. Harris has performed several bass baritone operatic roles including Mozart’s Die Zauberflote and Don Giovanni, and frequently in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Harris has been a prolific piano accompanist, having accompanied hundreds of professional and amateur singers and instrumentalists in solo recitals and other performances. Also, Harris has taught in the area of music history and has had a particular interest in the music of African-Americans and its relationship to the music of Africa. He carried out field research in countries of West Africa, including Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, and Senegal. His research has been supported by the National Endowment, Luce, and Arizona State University.

In his position at Loyola, Harris will serve as both the second ranking officer and chief academic officer of the university with specific responsibility for all educational planning and administration and for the development of sound academic programs, faculty scholarship, and educational policies.

In making the announcement, Fr. Knoth noted, “Dr. Harris will play a key role on the administrative team and his capable and proven skills in higher education administration will be a fine addition to the university. He brings to Loyola an enthusiasm and talent for working with faculty, staff, students, and parents and shares our vision of establishing Loyola as a national-ranking liberal arts institution.”

“I am extremely pleased to join Loyola University New Orleans as provost,” said Harris. “Loyola is a fine institution with the potential to become an even greater university. It has a talented student body and faculty. I am looking forward to using my talents to join the faculty and administration to make Loyola one of the best universities in the nation.”

Harris earned his bachelor’s degree from Knoxville College, and a master’s degree and a doctorate from Michigan State University in East Lansing.