The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute was established in May 1999 by the Board of Visitors at Virginia Commonwealth University in honor of Grace E. Harris, Ph.D., upon her retirement from the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs. Harris has served the university for more than 40 years in the roles of faculty member, dean, vice provost, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and acting president, becoming the highest-ranking woman and highest-ranking African-American in VCU’s history. Today, she remains a distinguished professor at VCU.
The Institute develops and implements programs based on principles of collaboration and partnership. Other unique features include its strong theoretical grounding in the concept of transformational leadership, its commitment to long-term relationships with clients and participants, and its focus on leadership in academic and community settings. The Institute also conducts research and disseminates knowledge on the best practices in leadership.