Major General Marcelite J. Harris was the first African American female general of the United States Air Force. Upon graduation from Spellman College in 1964, she was commissioned through Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in 1965. Maj Gen Harris retired from the Air Force in 1997 as the highest-ranking female officer in the Air Force and the highest-ranking African American woman in the Department of Defense.
She was also the first female aircraft maintenance officer, one of the first women air officers commanding at the Air Force Academy, and the first female vice commander for maintenance. Upon retirement, Major General Harris served as the Florida State Director and Logistics Process Owner for a contractor managing the Nation's Shuttle Program, United Space Alliance.
Major General Harris now serves as the Treasurer of the Atlanta Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and on the Board of the Peachtree Hope Charter School.
In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Major General Harris was to the Board of Visitors for the United States Air Force Academy. This board looks into the morale, discipline, curriculum, instruction, academic methods, and fiscal affairs of the Academy. The board prepares semi-annual reports with recommendations based upon their inquiries. These reports are presented to the Secretary of Defense, via the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Armed Services Committee in the Senate and Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives.
She also has a BS in Business Management from the University of Maryland University College and as awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Spellman College.