2010 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
|Houston|| Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr.
In Houston, Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. is an accomplished physician, NASA astronaut, and businessman who currently serves as president of the Harris Foundation, Inc., headquartered in Houston.
Despite humble beginnings in a broken home, Dr. Harris pursued his dream of being a physician and later a NASA astronaut. He not only flew multiple space shuttle missions, he is actually the first African-American to walk in space. When he retired from NASA, he had logged more than 438 hours in space and had traveled more than 7.2 million miles.
Since his retirement, Dr. Harris has become a successful businessman and is currently on the board of directors for some of the world’s leading technology companies. He founded the Harris Foundation in 1998, with a mission to invest in community-based initiatives to support programs that empower individuals, particularly minorities and the economically disadvantaged, to recognize their potential.
The Harris Foundation sponsors programs such as the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps, which promote the study of science and technology to disadvantaged students entering middle school. The foundation also co-sponsors the Dare to Dream program with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Office. Dare to Dream targets at-risk youth and explores crime prevention, as well as encourages the pursuit of careers in science and technology. The FBI Houston Field Office has partnered with Dare to Dream as part of its Adopt-A-School mission, and it regularly provides special agent guest speakers to meet with the Dare to Dream students at many Houston schools.
Using his own story, Dr. Harris inspires children in Houston to reach for the stars.