School of Public Policy Appoints Richard Florida as Hirst Professor

Posted: July 7, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Richard Florida is the new Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Professor of Public Policy, effective Aug. 25. He currently is the H. John Heinz III Professor of Regional Economic Development in the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. He also heads the university’s Software Industry Center. He has been a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Florida is the author of seven books, including The Rise of the Creative Class, which was awarded Washington Monthly’s Political Book Award for 2002. In addition to his academic roles, Florida has been a consultant to more than 60 agencies and organizations, including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council for Urban Economic Development, the Mellon Bank Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry. He also is a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution.

Florida earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his PhD from Columbia University.

The Hirst professorship is named for the late Sen. Omer Lee Hirst and his wife, Nancy, contributors to a broad range of George Mason University programs, including the endowment of this professorship in 1986. The Hirsts have served the university in a number of leadership positions. A key member of the Virginia legislature, Hirst was the chief patron of bills that created George Mason’s School of Law in 1979. He received the university’s highest honor, the George Mason medal, in 1989. Nancy Hirst was a member of the Board of Visitors from 1982 to 1990.

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