Patricia Harris (MSLS '70) will be the keynote speaker at the spring commencement of the School of Information and Library Science. The commencement ceremony will be held at the Great Hall of the Student Union at 1:00 p.m. on May 13, 2007.
While a library school student, Harris worked in the Reference Department of the Wilson Library under the tutelage of Patty McIntyre. Since leaving Chapel Hill, she has developed a career which has taken her into varied and unexpected types of work across the library and information landscape, nationally and internationally.
Following graduation she worked as an assistant reference librarian at Princeton University with special responsibilities for the development and management of the Afro-American Collection. Undeterred by a family move to Chicago, she took the opportunity for a different perspective on libraries by joining the staff of the American Library Association - first in the Office for Intellectual Freedom and then as Assistant to the Executive Director in the Association's Executive Offices.
Returning to the Washington D.C. area in 1979, Harris chose to work at the Library of Congress and the U.S. Department of Education where she managed the major federal funding program serving research libraries.
For 20 years, Harris served as the Executive Director of the National Information Standards Organization, developing the organization's program and services on behalf of the library, information services and publishing communities to international recognition and prominence. Harris has also served as a consultant to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and to various associations involved in standards development work focusing primarily on education, training, standards processes and methods and human resource development.
Harris is now a part of the Global Standards and Information Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which supports the National Center for Standards and Certification Information and the U.S. Inquiry Point for the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.
Pat and her husband Howard (also a SILS graduate) live in Bethesda, Maryland.