Patricia de Stacy Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer

The Honorable Patricia de Stacy Harrison is the longest-serving president and chief executive officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which serves as the steward of federal funding for more than 1,500 public radio and television stations and producers throughout the United States. Since she joined CPB in 2005, she has increased support for education and journalism and advanced public media in three major areas: Digital innovation and acceleration, Diversity of content, talent, and service, and Dialogue, focused on local community engagement and increased public-private partnerships.

To advance CPB's educational mission, Ms. Harrison created the American Graduate initiative, one of public media's most successful and extensive collaborations, with stations nationwide joining with national partners and thousands of local and diverse organizations to help students stay on the path to a high school diploma. Due in part to the American Graduate program, the national graduation rate has risen to an unprecedented level, and participating communities are now better equipped to help students graduate and find the best path to employment. In 2016, Ms. Harrison was honored for her leadership of American Graduate with the Promise of America Award from America's Promise Alliance.

In the area of journalism and reporting, CPB, under her direction, initiated local and regional journalism collaborations increasing the number of station-based public broadcast journalists and strengthening public media's role as a primary source of trusted news. In 2017, the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC, honored CPB with the Global Communications Award for its outstanding commitment to education and journalism. Ms. Harrison was named a 2019 George Chaplin Fellow in Distinguished Journalism by the East West Center for her significant contributions to promoting quality journalism.

In 2010, Ms. Harrison established the first Diversity and Innovation Fund, resulting in groundbreaking projects to increase diversity in media production and storytelling. In 2008, she was honored with the Leadership Award from the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and in 2019, CPB was honored by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers with the Lisa Quiroz Media Advancement Award for efforts in fostering the development of Latinx and diverse communities in media. Under Ms. Harrison's leadership, CPB has become the driving force for digital transformation, positioning public media national organizations and local stations to provide audiences with a personalized media experience paired with high quality content and engagement.

A sought-after speaker regarding leadership and opportunity for women, Ms. Harrison has a strong record of support for the advancement of women in business. In 2010, she launched the Executive Communications Coaching Initiative for women general managers in public media. She served as chair of Women and Girls Lead, an innovative public media initiative to educate and connect women and girls worldwide to address education, health and safety challenges. In 2012, she was included on the Forbes list of "Women Changing the World in Media" for her work with Women and Girls Lead. The founder of the National Women's Economic Alliance Foundation, she authored two books, A Seat At The Table: An Insider's Guide for America's New Women Leaders and America's New Women Entrepreneurs.  

Prior to joining CPB, Ms. Harrison served as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs and Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She received the U.S. Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award for her leadership in creating "Partnerships for Learning" (P4L), a global initiative providing young people with education and career opportunity, and CultureConnect, a program utilizing American leaders from business, government, sports, and the arts to provide mentoring and master classes for young people worldwide.

Ms. Harrison is the recipient of many awards and honors, most recently the Cavaliere of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the David Lynch Foundation Lifetime in Service Award, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award in 2017.

Ms. Harrison received her B.A. from American University, Washington, DC, and honorary doctorates from the American University of Rome in 2002 and the School of Public Affairs, American University, in 2017. She is a former Thomas Colloquium on Free Enterprise guest lecturer at Youngstown State University in Ohio and was a visiting fellow at the Institute for Public Service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania, in 2000, and at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in 1992. She is a member of the Board of Advisors at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and a member of the Board of Directors of The Ellis Island Honors Society. In 2020, Harrison was nominated by the US Department of State to serve on the International Task Force of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, which was established by Congress to organize the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the United States. In 2022, Harrison was appointed to the Honorary Committee of the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, an annual honor bestowed by The Library of Congress for excellence in American history documentary filmmaking.  She is the Chairman Emeritus and a board member of the National Italian American Foundation.

Articles and Speeches

Remarks at the APTS Public Media Summit
February 2024


Remarks at the Public Media Business Association Conference

May 2018


Chicago Tonight interview on “American Creed”

February 28, 2018


Public Media: American Stories of Service at PBS Annual Meeting

May 2017


If President Trump kills public broadcasting, America loses

March 2017


Remarks at The Media Institute Awards Banquet

October 2016


Opening remarks at Werk It: A Women's Postcasting Festival WNYC Radio

June 2016


Promise of America Award

April 2016


The Power of Public Media

February 2016


TEDTalks on Broadway Opening Remarks

November 2015


More Young People Need More Champions

September 2015


Murrow Award Ceremony at the PMDMC

July 2015