10 Questions for Judith Harris, Chair of the San Diego Public Library Foundation


Judith Harris is the chair of The San Diego Public Library Foundation, which raises money to supplement government funding for the San Diego Public Library system. She served on the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture from 1993 to 2001 and was the chair from 1998 to 2001. She has co-chaired capital campaigns for KPBS, Animal Welfare Complex and Scripps Cardiac Center. Harris was a trustee for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego for six years and served as secretary from 2006 to 2007. She is a former trustee for La Jolla Playhouse. She has been a major advocate for the San Diego Council on Literacy for more than a decade. She served on the initial arts and culture task force for the San Diego Foundation and was also a trustee. She presently serves as a trustee for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. She and her husband, Dr. Robert Singer, live in La Jolla and have charitable interests in Rwanda, Kenya and The Democratic Republic of Congo.

Q: What brought you to La Jolla?

In the 1970s: Boho Spirit. In the 1980s: my husband..

Q: What makes La Jolla special to you?

Brick and Bell, Lean and Green, Alessandro’s, Gotham Pilates, La Jolla Library, Warwick’s, Adelaide’s and the Rasta homeless guy who is wicked smart. They’re all within a two-block radius.

Q: Who or what inspires you?

Dalai Lama. I could use some of his “mellow.” My daughter, Blair, who sees “good” in everyone.

Q: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would love an indie theater/bookstore like “The Unicorn” in the 1970s.

Q: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Assuming my family and friends would already be there: Marlene Dietrich, Vlad the Impaler, Catherine the Great, Dian Fossey, Machiavelli, Livia (wife of first emperor Augustus), Guillermo del Toro and Dalai Lama (need a moderator).

Q: What is your most prized possession?

My health.

Q: What are you currently reading?

“All Things Must Fight to Live” by Bryan Mealer; “A Thousand Hills” by Stephen Kunzer; and “A Dame to Kill For” by Frank Miller.

Q: What do you do for fun?

I belong to a gun club. I do target practice - no hunting! I just began taking helicopter lessons. While I was in Kenya last December, one of my dear friends took me in a helicopter to the top of Mt. Kenya. I said, “I must fly one of these.” Exotic travel with my family.

Q: Describe your greatest accomplishment.

My 27-year-old daughter still loves me and my husband is still married to me.

Q: What is your motto or philosophy of life?

The end justifies the means.