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Patricia de Stacy Harrison SPA Commencement Speaker

SPA Speaker Patricia Harrison

An alumna of American University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Patricia de Stacy Harrison is president and chief executive officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the leading funder of public radio and public television programming.

Since 2005 Harrison has strengthened public service media by focusing on three areas of investment: digital, diversity, and dialogue. To formalize this commitment, Harrison established the Diversity and Innovation Fund for public media. Under her leadership, CPB launched American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a nationwide initiative to help communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Harrison also chairs the Leadership Council of Women and Girls Lead, a global initiative to empower women and girls.

Harrison previously served as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and acting under secretary for the Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs under President George W. Bush. Harrison speaks and writes frequently about leadership, communication strategy, and constituency building. She is the author of two books, A Seat at the Table: An Insider’s Guide for America’s New Women Leaders and America’s New Women Entrepreneurs.

Among her accolades are the 2008 leadership award from the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the US Secretary of State’s Award for Distinguished Service. In 2012 she was recognized as a power player in media in Forbes’s “Women Changing the World” list.

Harrison serves on a number of boards. She received a BA from American University and has taught at Youngstown State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University.