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James Harris III tapped to lead USD

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James T. Harris III

SAN DIEGO — The University of San Diego announced Friday that James Harris III will become its fourth president this summer.

Harris is currently the president of Chester, Pa.-based Widener University. The 6,300-student university is a top school for civic engagement, according to USD. Before that, he led Defiance College in Ohio.

He will succeed Mary Lyons, who is retiring.

“Dr. Harris is ideally suited to build upon the impressive progress witnessed at USD under the leadership of President Lyons,” said Ron Fowler, who leads the USD Board of Trustees.

“He is a compassionate, Catholic, servant leader with extensive experience leading a comprehensive, liberal arts based institution, with a particular commitment to student development and engagement in the community,” Fowler said.

“His strategic leadership at Widener in creating a clear vision for the university, promoting shared governance, and delivering measurable results in a thriving educational environment has been independently recognized as a model for other universities.”

Lyon is stepping down after a dozen years at USD’s helm. Harris is scheduled to begin his tenure in San Diego Aug. 1.

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