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
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