Rice’s Baker Institute receives $3M gift from Alfred C. Glassell III to endow fellow in drug policy

Katharine Neill Harris named first Glassell Fellow in Drug Policy

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has received a $3 million gift from the Glassell Family Foundation led by Houston philanthropist Alfred C. Glassell III to endow a fellow in drug policy and advance the research of the institute’s Drug Policy Program.

From left, William Martin, Katharine Neill Harris, Edjward Djerejian, Alfred C. Glassell III and Pam Lindberg. Credit: Michael Stravato/Rice's Baker Institute

From left, William Martin, Katharine Neill Harris, Edjward Djerejian, Alfred C. Glassell III and Pam Lindberg. Credit: Michael Stravato/Rice’s Baker Institute

Katharine Neill Harris, who currently holds a postdoctoral fellowship in drug policy at the Baker Institute, has been named the first Alfred C. Glassell III Fellow in Drug Policy.

The Drug Policy Program, led by William Martin, the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at the institute, provides policymakers, scholars and the public with comprehensive and objective analyses of issues and trends with important implications for state, national and international drug policy.

The Alfred C. Glassell III Fellow in Drug Policy will build research capacity, work with local and international institutions to exchange knowledge and ideas, produce policy recommendations and evaluate the effectiveness of research.

“Drug policy is a critical issue at the federal, state and local levels,” said Baker Institute Director Edward Djerejian. “The Baker Institute is providing policymakers and the public with insightful, nonpartisan policy analysis and recommendations on how to deal with this challenge. With the Glassell Family Foundation’s generous support, the Drug Policy Program will expand its research on issues related to crime, addiction, rehabilitation and other key issues.”

The fellowship is an expansion of a postdoctoral fellowship in drug policy supported by the Glassell Family Foundation for the past five years and now held by Harris. Martin said that Harris, who earned her Ph.D. in public administration and urban policy at Old Dominion University, has significantly enhanced the Baker Institute’s analysis of such key issues as the current opioid epidemic, the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis for medical and adult use and the relationship between drug policy and scientific research on drug addiction.

“I believe it is critically important that we have the most engaging and nonbiased Drug Policy Program in the country,” Glassell said. “Houston is on the front lines of change, and the more we know and the better prepared we are to counter criticism in addition to giving our citizens the straight facts, the better we will be.”

The Glassell Family Foundation is a Houston-based foundation created to provide funding for the arts, history, science, literature, medical research and education.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.