California State University, Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison this summer became the first academic leader elected to serve as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). The corporation’s mission is to advance opportunity and prosperity for all of Los Angeles County’s residents. This is achieved via collaborative economic development leadership, objective economic research and analysis, strategic assistance to business, education and government partners, and targeted public policy.
Previously a member of the LAEDC Executive Committee and Board of Governors, Harrison’s term as vice chair began July 1. She will serve a one-year term as chair beginning in July 2019.
“President Harrison’s leadership, experience and passion for preparing her students for success in our fast-evolving economy will be invaluable to advancing our goal to ensure that all of our region’s residents can get the education and training they need today to succeed in the well-paying jobs of tomorrow,” LAEDC CEO Bill Allen said.
Harrison has served in a host of prominent leadership positions for national, state and local organizations — more than 80 and counting. In addition to the LAEDC, her latest contributions to higher education and Southern California’s economy will come as a member of the American Council on Education (ACE) Board of Directors.
ACE is the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities. In March, Harrison was elected to the ACE board for a term through March 2021. ACE advocates for issues such as federal funding for student aid, protection for undocumented students and a path to citizenship for international students who would like to remain in the country.
“It is an honor to represent CSUN and our students, faculty and staff by serving these prestigious organizations making a difference in our region and for our nation,” Harrison said. “I look forward to advancing solutions that meet the needs and priorities of our diverse campus community.”
As one of the founders of the CSU5 partnership between the five California State Universities in Los Angeles County, Harrison rallied support for funding, alongside many private-sector and philanthropic organizations, for the implementation of the LA County Strategic Plan for Economic Development, now known as Propel LA and located at the LAEDC. Harrison also has been a vocal promoter of the role of innovation in the economy and in talent development, through CSUN investments in technology incubation. She is known for her strong commitment to community and for building strong partnerships with public-, nonprofit- and private-sector organizations, a natural fit for LAEDC’s collaborative economic development approach.
Harrison began her appointment as president of CSUN in June 2012. Prior to CSUN, she served as president of California State University, Monterey Bay, and for nearly 30 years in various positions at Florida State University.