Barbara C. Harris, the country’s first female Episcopal bishop, to be honored at ceremony that rings in a new academic year
GENEVA, N.Y. – Students, alums, friends of the Colleges and the public are invited to help Hobart and William Smith celebrate the arrival of the 2004-05 academic year. Convocation begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7, on the lawn at Stern Hall. The event acknowledges student organizations, welcomes those returning to campus and formally introduces first-years to the next stage of their lives, as members of the HWS community.
Included in the ceremonies is the presentation of the 34th Elizabeth Blackwell Award. Given by the Colleges to a woman whose life exemplifies outstanding service to humanity, the award is being bestowed upon Bishop Barbara C. Harris, a civil rights activist and the first woman ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church.
A native of Philadelphia, Harris graduated from the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism, and worked in the public relations field for a number of years. She was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1980. While assigned to St. Augustine of Hippo Church in Norristown, Pa., she served as Philadelphia County prison chaplain, and counseled corporations on public policy issues and social concerns. She was later named executive director of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company and publisher of The Witness magazine.
In 1988, Harris was named suffragan (assisting) bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts. A year later, she became the first woman ordained a bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
A member of the Union of Black Episcopalians and past president of the Episcopal Urban Caucus, Harris has represented the Church on several committees and commissions. She is a trustee of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and past vice president of Episcopal City Mission, an agency that acts on the behalf of the urban poor.
Harris attended Villanova University, studied at the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, England, and is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Foundation for Pastoral Counseling. She has received honorary degrees from numerous universities and theological schools, including Yale University, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and HWS.
This will not be Harris’ first time on campus. She gave the HWS baccalaureate address in 1981 and was the Commencement speaker in 1990. Her first visit to the Colleges was in 1980, the day after her ordination as a priest.
Editor’s note: a high resolution image of Bishop Harris is available at: http://campus.hws.edu/new/releases/hiRes/harris_barbara_hres.jpg