May 1, 2015

Mark W. Harris to Receive Honorary Degree at Adelphi Commencement

Mark Harris

Mark Harris

Adelphi University will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Mark W. Harris, president and chief executive officer of ELS Educational Services, Inc. Harris will receive the degree at Adelphi’s 119th Commencement on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, NY.

Inspired by his own study abroad at the University of Madrid and language teaching experience as an instructor of Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania, Mark W. Harris has dedicated four decades to international education. He earned a Master of Arts degree from the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania and later an MBA Degree in International Management & Marketing from The Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

Mark W. Harris is the president and chief executive officer of ELS Educational Services, Inc. In 2013 Mr. Harris was appointed Chairman, President & CEO of Berlitz Corporation, which he now manages concurrently with his ELS responsibilities.  Founded in 1878, Berlitz operates 370 Language Centers in 70 countries and provides intercultural training and assessment.

In 1978 Mr. Harris joined Berlitz International, Inc. and devoted his efforts to international study abroad programs and the opening of schools in Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, and Japan. 

In 1993 Mr. Harris returned to the USA to become the Managing Director of Berlitz On-Campus which merged with ELS Educational Services in 1997 to form a 28-school network of university-based centers.   

Today ELS operates over 75 language center locations on four continents(in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, India, Malaysia, Panama, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) and ELS is the largest on-campus ESL provider in the world, teaching ESL and university study skills to more than 17% of all international students entering the USA each year.

Mr. Harris is a member of the Council of Senior Advisors of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), and is also a member of AIEA, NAFSA, and was a founding member of the Japan Association of Overseas Study. In 2015 he has joined the board of the Center for Entrance Examination Standardization.

More than 650 universities around the world accept the ELS Certificate of Completion for Level 112 in lieu of a TOEFL®score as proof of English proficiency for admission. ELS is the largest official TOEFL®iBT tester and the largest IELTS™ testing organization in the United States.

Harris, a member of the Adelphi University President’s Advisory Council, was awarded the President’s Medal of Merit in 2011 for leadership in internationalization of the University.


Since the early 90s ELS has brought more than 10,000 international students to Adelphi University for ELS programs. More than 2,000 have continued to obtain an undergrad or graduate degree from Adelphi.

For more information and the full day’s program, please contact Adelphi’s Commencement Office at 516.877.4695 or visit

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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning.

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves more than 8,100 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.