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Marie Radel
Director, media and marketing, IU Kokomo

Last modified: Wednesday, June 6, 2012

IU Kokomo chancellor recognized as top Israeli academic in the world working outside Israel

June 6, 2012

KOKOMO, Ind. -- Indiana University Kokomo Chancellor Michael Harris' dedication to scholarly work and his successful leadership in higher education have earned him recognition by one of Israel's leading newspapers as the top Israeli in academics worldwide working outside Israel.

Michael Harris

Michael Harris

"The Most Successful Israelis in the World -- A Special Project: Made In Israel," published April 27 by Maariv, the second-largest newspaper in Israel, cited Harris as an exceptional leader in academics and listed him among 10 honorees serving as sources of "Israeli pride, the international edition." Other honorees were recognized for their achievements in the fields of music, high tech, culinary, computers, nightlife, television, medicine, physics and real estate.

"Michael's strong and strategic stewardship of Indiana University's Kokomo campus, which continues to experience dramatic growth in enrollment, academic offerings and community engagement, along with his notable scholarly achievements, make him a most deserving recipient of this outstanding honor," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "By way of his dynamic personality, enthusiasm and experience in a number of leadership positions, Michael is helping to strengthen IU Kokomo's role as a major player in revitalizing the region it serves and significantly improving the quality of life for all who live and work in north central Indiana."

According to the newspaper report, Harris and his fellow honorees "hold the most desirable positions in their fields. They're responsible for innovations, advancements and resources."

The report adds that Harris "is probably the first and only Israeli today that leads an American university or campus in his position as chancellor of IU Kokomo, which is part of the prestigious Indiana University."

"There are many successful Israeli academics in the U.S., so to be recognized is overwhelming," said Harris, 56, who was born in South Africa and raised on a commune in Israel.

Harris retired at the rank of major as an intelligence officer from the Israeli Defense Forces. He has lived in the U.S. since the late 1980s.

"I don't have strong enough words to describe how incredibly humbled I feel, especially being in the company of the others who were selected," Harris said.

Maariv acknowledged a number of Harris' accomplishments, including 40 published articles and five books (one in the past year), and an educational background that spans the globe. He received a Ph.D. in public policy from IU, a master's degree from Tel Aviv University and an undergraduate degree in economics and business administration from Bar-Ilan University. Additionally, he is a graduate of two of the Harvard Graduate School of Education's leadership programs (IEM and MDP).

Harris became chancellor of IU Kokomo in July 2010, and he is currently working to ensure the campus plays an important role in the future success of north central Indiana. To this end, he has set forth strategic goals based on three themes: academic excellence and student success; building relationships and making friends; and regional transformation.

In less than two years under his leadership, the campus has seen major growth in student enrollment, implemented 15 new degree programs, increased significantly its online course offerings, dramatically increased fundraising, began a competitive athletic program and a successful bid to NAIA membership, and completed a variety of infrastructure projects. These accomplishments, Harris says, build upon the vision for IU's regional campuses as set forth by IU President McRobbie.

Other outstanding Israelis recognized in the special report are:

  • Music: Miri Ben-Ari, a prominent violinist.
  • High tech: David "Dadi" Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel Corp.'s Mobility
  • Culinary: Moshik Roth, a world-renowned chef who holds two Michelin stars
  • Computers: Safra Catz, president and CFO of Oracle
  • Nightlife: Guy Gerber, an electronic DJ/producer and musician
  • Television: Aviv Nevo, a venture capitalist and major shareholder in Time Warner
  • Medicine: Dr. Gideon Koren, pediatrician, clinical pharmacologist and toxicologist
  • Physics: Dr. Amnon Yariv, the Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of applied physics and professor of electrical engineering at Caltech
  • Real estate: Chaim Katzman, chairman of Gazit-Globe Ltd.