California State University, Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison has been named Woman of the Year for the state’s 18th Senate District by Sen. Robert Hertzberg.
Harrison will receive the honor during a formal ceremony on the floor of the State Senate on March 4. She is one of a select group of women who are being so honored by state senators and assembly members to mark Women’s History Month.
“I’m proud to be a part of the largest public university system in the country, one that now has the majority of its 23 campuses led by women,” Harrison said. “I deeply appreciate Senator Hertzberg for this honor and for his strong support of CSUN. This annual recognition of women from every corner of California is a powerful acknowledgement of the vital role women play in elevating lives, communities and businesses across the state.”
The Woman of the Year celebration started in 1987 when the Legislative Women’s Caucus set aside a day in March to honor women who are making a difference in their communities throughout the state.
The event has become a meaningful tradition and an anticipated rite of spring in the California State Legislature. The Assembly and Senate pause from their usual business to bestow accolades to encourage women of all ages to pursue a life that benefits others.
“In a community full of extraordinary female leaders, I can think of few more deserving of this honor than Dianne Harrison,” Sen. Hertzberg said. “President Harrison is the fiercest advocate CSUN could ask for, and has achieved so much in terms of solidifying the school’s place as a cornerstone in our community.”
Harrison was appointed president of CSUN in June 2012. She is the fifth president in the institution’s 60-year history and the third consecutive woman to lead the university. Known for her commitment to students, academic excellence and strategic leadership, Harrison has a reputation for building strong partnerships with public and private organizations, enabling students, faculty and staff to cross institutional boundaries and engage in innovative instruction.
Harrison has served on numerous boards and committees of national, state and local organizations, including the boards of the American Council on Education, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Second Nature and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities. She is a former member of the NCAA Board of Governors and the Division I Board of Directors and current chair of the NCAA Board of Governors’ Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity. She serves on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, having been appointed three consecutive times by former Governor Jerry Brown, most recently in October 2018.
As an active civic leader, she serves on the boards of directors for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Economic Alliance and Valley Presbyterian Hospital. She is a member of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Leadership Council and the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs. She also serves on the Advisory Council of BizFed and as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) Board. In July 2018, Harrison was named in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “LA500” list, as one of the 500 most influential people in Los Angeles.