Patricia E Harris | 2012 Honoree

Patricia E. Harris is the First Deputy Mayor of City of New York, the City’s highest appointed position, and is the first woman in New York City’s history to serve in this role. As First Deputy Mayor, Harris manages the operations of City Hall, including policy and personnel decisions, and oversees a number of agencies and departments, including Cultural Affairs, Parks & Recreation, Consumer Affairs, Design and Construction, Landmarks Preservation, NYC Service, Special Events, and City Hall’s philanthropic arm, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

As First Deputy Mayor, Harris has helped ensure that New York’s cultural community remains a key priority for city government. Through her leadership, the Bloomberg Administration supports more than 1,200 cultural organizations in all five boroughs. She was instrumental in reforming the City’s funding process for cultural organizations, which has provided more resources to more groups faster than ever before, and helped lead the creation of the City’s Design and Construction Excellence initiative. She also continues to help bring world-class public art exhibitions to all five boroughs. Most notably, Harris spearheaded such groundbreaking projects as Christo and Jeanne-Claude’sThe Gates in Central Park, and Olafur Eliasson’s The New York City Waterfalls along the East River.

Harris represented Mayor Bloomberg on the 9/11 Memorial Jury, the committee charged with selecting the final design of the 9/11 Memorial. The 13-member Memorial Jury, which included world-renowned artists and architects and prominent arts and cultural professionals, reviewed more than 5,200 submissions to what would prove to be the largest open design competition in U.S. history.

Harris is also the Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which is dedicated to the advancement of the arts, education, environmental protection, government innovation, and public health.
Harris serves on several City-affiliated boards, including the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, World Trade Center Performing Arts Center, Friends of the Highline, Governors Island Trust, Gracie Mansion Conservancy, NYC & Company, and New York City Global Partners, Inc. She also currently serves on the Boards of Cornell University and Franklin and Marshall College.

Harris began her career in public service with Mayor Edward I. Koch, serving first as Assistant to the Mayor and then as Executive Director of the City’s Art Commission (now the Public Design Commission). She went on to work at Serino Coyne Advertising before moving to Bloomberg L.P., where she managed philanthropy, public relations, and governmental affairs. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Franklin and Marshall College.

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