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Harman Named Widney Business Professor

02/27/08
The university-wide appointment will allow longtime industry leader Sidney Harman to lecture at several USC schools.
The business leader is known for his company’s Quality of Working Life programs.

Sidney Harman, founder and chairman of audio-equipment giant Harman International Industries, has been named the first Judge Widney Professor of Business at USC by President Steven B. Sample.

“Sidney Harman has been an innovative and groundbreaking leader in business, technology and the arts throughout his distinguished career,” said USC Provost C. L. Max Nikias. “The Widney professorship recognizes his extraordinary talents and contributions, while providing a new role for him to influence young scholars as they prepare to create the next great achievements in their fields.”

The position is one of USC’s most prestigious, named after university founder Judge Robert Maclay Widney. The appointment is university-wide, and Harman will lecture at a number of USC schools.

Harman is chairman and founder of Harman International Industries, whose many electronics and audio-equipment brands include Harman Kardon, JBL, AKG Acoustics, Mark Levinson and Infinity. He co-founded Harman Kardon, a pioneering company in the high-fidelity audio business, in 1952.

“We’re delighted to add Sidney Harman’s experience, relationships and talents to the USC faculty in a more permanent fashion,” said James G. Ellis, dean of the USC Marshall School of Business. “He already has had a terrific impact on USC Marshall’s students and faculty in many ways.”

In 2005, Harman delivered the Commencement address at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. Last spring, he was a speaker at USC Marshall’s MBA Commencement ceremony. Last fall, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by USC Marshall’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and served as visiting professor and entrepreneur in residence with USC Marshall. He is a board member of USC’s Leadership Institute, whose founding chairman is USC Marshall’s University Professor of Business Warren Bennis, the noted writer and thinker on leadership.

As a business leader, Harman is particularly known for his company’s Quality of Working Life programs, which have been the subject of numerous case studies at business schools. He is the co-author, with pollster Daniel Yankelovich, of Starting With the People (Houghton Mifflin, 1988) and the author of Mind Your Own Business (Currency/Doubleday, 2003).

For three years, Harman was president of Friends World College, a worldwide experimental Quaker college. He is the founder and an active member of the Program on Technology, Public Policy and Human Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Harman serves on the boards of Freedom House, the Aspen Institute, BENS (Business Executives for National Security) and the Harman Family Foundation. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the principal donor and sponsor of Washington D.C.’s Harman Center for the Arts and its new Sidney Harman Hall.

A graduate of Baruch College of the City University of New York, Harman endowed that college’s Writer-in-Residence program. He endowed a similar program in the arts at the Aspen Institute. Harman has been a trustee of the Martin Luther King Center for Social Change, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Public Agenda Foundation and Emory University’s Carter Center.

Harman is married to Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.