Judith A. Harris, Esq., LL.M to Receive the 2024 Will Shakespeare Award

By Bill Hoblin & Madeleine Burns

The Will Shakespeare Award is given to a person, group, or organization that enriches the world by the sharing of gifts, inspires others through luminosity of spirit, and engages with society in a way that leaves an indelible and beautiful impression. Judy Harris personifies all of these qualities.

“Judy is an exceptional individual who has given so much to PSF. In her role as Festival board president for eight years, Judy was an advocate and ambassador for the arts. She is a community connector who is extremely charitable with her time, talent, and treasure. Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is a stronger and more prosperous organization thanks to her guidance, leadership, and generosity of spirit,” said Casey William Gallagher, PSF Managing Director. 

Judy grew up in Allentown and has enjoyed the theatre world since childhood. She attended the Children’s Summer Theater Workshop at the Guthsville Playhouse. One of her teachers there was current fellow PSF board member H. Lloyd Carbaugh, then a theatre student at Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (now DeSales University). Judy’s first visit to the DeSales campus was that summer in 1973, to see Lloyd act in and stage manage the college’s musical production of Carnival! in the basement auditorium of Dooling Hall. 

Judy majored in English literature with a concentration in Elizabethan drama and minored in Russian language at Bryn Mawr College, which included studying abroad in Moscow at the Pushkin Language Institute where she received her diploma in 1982. She attended American University’s Washington College of Law and practiced law in Washington, DC for two years. She then returned to the Lehigh Valley in 1988, completed her LL.M in Taxation and clerked for a Lehigh County judge, and has lived and practiced law here since then. Judy marvels at the exceptional education that she received in the Allentown School District and splendid opportunities available to her and her classmates to learn and be exposed to the performing arts in the Lehigh Valley.

In addition to her board service at PSF, Judy serves on the boards of the Allentown Symphony Association, the Fund to Benefit Children and Youth, the Lehigh County Agricultural Society, and the Singer Family C&E Foundation. She is a board past president and vice-president, respectively, of the Estate Planning Council of the Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.