Jane Harman, former congresswoman from California and current director, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was elected to the USC Board of Trustees on Dec. 7.
“I am delighted to welcome Jane Harman to the USC Board of Trustees,” said President C. L. Max Nikias in announcing the election. “As a Trojan parent and a steadfast supporter of our academic mission – she and her late husband, Sidney, were instrumental in founding the USC Academy for Polymathic Study – Jane has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to our university. Additionally, her broad international perspective and dedication to promoting dialogue and collaboration, cultivated over the course of her long service in Congress, as well as her work at the Wilson Center, will make her an invaluable asset to our board.”
During her nine-term congressional career, Harman served on all of the major security committees and made fact-finding trips to hotspots around the world to assess threats to the United States. She resigned from Congress in February to lead the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan research institution established as part of the Smithsonian Institution by an act of Congress in 1968. She had represented California’s 36th District, which covers an area in southwest Los Angeles County extending from Venice into the South Bay, since 1993.
Prior to serving in Congress, Harman worked as a top aide in the United States Senate, as deputy cabinet secretary to former President Jimmy Carter, as special counsel to the Department of Defense and as an attorney in private practice.
Harman is widely recognized as an expert in national security and public policy issues. She received the Defense Department Medal for Distinguished Service in 1998, the Agency Seal Medal of the CIA in 2007, and the CIA Director’s Award and National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2011.
Harman currently serves on the U.S. Defense Policy Board, the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Policy Board, the CIA External Advisory Board and the senior advisory group to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She also is a trustee at The Aspen Institute.
Raised in Los Angeles, Harman attended public schools, then graduated magna cum laude from Smith College, where she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She earned her law degree from Harvard Law School.
Her late husband, Sidney Harman, was chairman of Newsweek magazine and founder and chairman emeritus of Harman International Industries, an audio equipment manufacturer that developed the first hi-fi receiver. He also was a Presidential Professor at USC, as well as founder and chair of the university’s Academy for Polymathic Study.
After his death in April, Jane Harman assumed her husband’s seat on the board of directors at the Newsweek/Daily Beast Co. She also serves on the board of the Harman Family Foundation, which supports programs that bring education and the arts to underserved people in Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.
Harman has four adult children and four grandchildren. She resides in Venice, Calif., and Washington, D.C.