Bernard A. Harris Jr., astronaut and president of the Harris Foundation, holds a B.S. in biology from the University of Houston, a M.M.S. from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, an MBA from the University of Houston Clear Lake and an M.D. from Texas Tech University School of Medicine.
Harris is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from Stony Brook University (SUNY), Morehouse School of Medicine, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and University of Hartford. He has also received the NASA Space Flight Medal, NASA Award of Merit, is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and was the recipient of the 2000 Horatio Alger Award.
Selected into the Astronaut Corp in January 1990, Harris was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-55/Spacelab D-2 in 1993. As Payload Commander on Space Shuttle Discovery STS-63 in 1995, he served on the first flight of the joint Russian-American Space Program, becoming the “first African-American to walk in space."
Harris is currently CEO and managing partner of Vesalius Ventures, Inc., and the founder of the Harris Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports math/science education and crime prevention programs for America's youth. Harris’ goals in life have been achieved through self-empowerment and self-determination. He believes that education and effort will allow anyone to meet any challenge in life, inspiring others to reach for the stars.