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For seven decades, Harris led a life committed to service. He volunteered for the Army Air Corps in World War II and continued serving his country as a civil rights advocate, a U.S. Senator, the president of two higher-education institutions, and a voice uniting people with different perspectives to find common ground.

Official Statement from CEO Barbara Stewart

Last night we lost an American hero. On the day we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we said goodbye to Harris Wofford. Harris was a tireless champion for national service, a patriot who loved his country, a beloved friend and mentor to many, and a guiding light who called us to serve and lifted our sights to achieving America’s promise for all.

Continue Reading the Official Statement >



Harris served as an advisor to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr during the Civil Rights movement, helped advance the cause of equality as a member of President John F. Kennedy’s White House staff, and helped launch the Peace Corps, later serving as its Associate Director. His achievements also include serving as president of Bryn Mawr College and the State University of New York at Old Westbury, and his election as a U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

While in the Senate, Harris led the effort to establish CNCS, which created the AmeriCorps program and united Senior Corps with other national service initiatives. Along with Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights Leader John Lewis, he also wrote legislation that charged our agency with leading the Martin Luther King Day of Service.

After his stint as a U.S. Senator, Harris answered President Clinton’s call to lead the Corporation for National and Community Service, a position he held from 1995 to 2001. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Citizens Medal in recognition of his more than 60 years of public service.


U.S. Senator | CNCS CEO 1995-2001 | Presidential Citizens Medal Recipient