Wesley L. Harris

Photo: Wesley Harris
C.S. Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Room 33-217
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

weslhar [at] MIT.EDU
Administrative Assistant
Financial Officer
Wesley L. Harris in action
Academic Degrees

B.A.E. (with Honors), 1964, University of Virginia
M.A, 1966, Princeton University
Ph.D., 1968, Princeton University

Honors and Awards

Tau Beta Pi, 1963; The Jefferson Society, 1963; Sigma XI, 1966; SIAM Visiting Lecturer, 1970-72; Irwin Sizer Award, MIT, 1979; Eminent Scholar, Norfolk State University, 1981-82; Scholar in Residence, Millersville State College, 1982; American Academy of Mechanics, 1988; Honorary Alumni, University of Connecticut, 1990; Milton Pikarsky Memorial Lecturer, 1990; Herbert S. and Jane Gregory Distinguished Lecturer, 1992; Confrerie des Chavaliers du Tastevin, 1993; University of Virginia Engineering Achievement Award, 1994; NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, 1994; Doctor of Engineering, Honoris Causa, Milwaukee School of Engineering, 1994; , Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Lane College, 1994; Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, Old Dominion University, 1995; Association of Black Princeton Alumni, Distinguished Alumni Award, 1999; Barry Goldwater Chair of American Institutions, Arizona State University, 2000-2001; NPRG Hammer Award (VP A. Gore), 2000; MIT Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, 2001; Arthur C. Smith Award, MIT, 2003; The National Academies (NRC, IOM); National Associate [lifetime appointment], 2004; Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa, University of Pretoria, 2006; Honorary Member, MIT Alumni Association, 2006; Frank J. Malina Lecturer, 2008; Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, RCA University, Nairobi, Kenya, 2009; Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer, 2010-2012; Outstanding Advocacy Award, MIT Council for the Advancement of Black Students, 2012; Presidential Award, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, 2012; Elected Fellow, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2019; The Capers & Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, 2020.

Society Memberships

African Scientific Institute, Fellow; American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Helicopter Society, Fellow, Director; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Fellow; American Physical Society; American Society for Engineering Education; Mathematical Association of America; National Academy of Engineering; National Technical Association, Fellow; Cosmos Club, Washington, DC; Union of Concerned Scientists, Board Member.

Positions Held at MIT

Founding Director, MIT Hypersonics Research Team, 2015 – present; Associate Provost for Faculty Equity, 2008-2013; Head, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2003-2008; Housemaster, New House, 2002-present; Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2001-present; Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1996-2001; M.L. King Jr. Visiting Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1995-1996; Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1981-1985; Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1979-1981;  Director of the Office of Minority Education, 1975-1979; Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Ocean Engineering, 1973-1979.

Positions Held outside MIT

NASA Headquarters, Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, 1993-1995; University of Tennessee, Space Institute, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, 1990-1993; University of Connecticut, School of Engineering Dean, 1985-1990; Harris Analytical and Planning, President and Owner, 1980-1985; NASA Headquarters, Manager, Computational Methods 1979-1980; Southern University, Department of Physics, Associate Professor 1970-1971; University of Virginia, School of Engineering, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering, Assistant Professor 1968-1970, Associate Professor 1971-1972.

Specialization and Research Interests

Fluid dynamics: unsteady aerodynamics, aeroacoustics; rotorcraft technology; economic incentives: defense systems acquisition, lean financial management methods; sustainment of capital assets; sickle cell pathology: onset dynamics of crisis.

Advising Philosophy Statement