Richard L. Morrill, Centre College’s 18th president (1982-88), will deliver the annual Founders Day address on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. in Newlin Hall of Centre’s Norton Center for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public.
Morrill left Centre to become president of the University of Richmond (1988-98), then later served Richmond as chancellor and Distinguished University Professor of Ethics and Democratic Values.
He returned to speak at Centre’s Founders Day in 2011 when he was president of the New York-based Teagle Foundation. He has also been president of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges and a board officer of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Centre’s current president, John A. Roush, worked with Morrill when both were at the University of Richmond.
While at Centre, Morrill completed a successful capital campaign, undertook a major reform of the general education program, developed a strategic plan that set goals for growth and advancement for the next decade, and increased faculty salaries by nearly two-thirds. Centre began to receive increasing national recognition during his time as one of the “best buys” among leading smaller colleges, set national records for the percentage of alumni contributing to the College, and achieved its highest ever enrollment. He constructed the F.W. Olin Science Hall with a grant from the prestigious Olin Foundation and Bingham residence hall, and he undertook major renovation projects of Grace Doherty Library and Young Science Hall.
Morrill has written a number of publications on values, leadership and liberal education, including Teaching Values in College,Strategic Leadership: Integrating Strategy and Leadership in Colleges and Universities, Strategic Leadership in Academic Affairs: Clarifying the Board’s Responsibilities, and Assessing Presidential Effectiveness.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history magna cum laude at Brown University, a bachelor of divinity in religious thought at Yale University and a doctorate in religion and ethics at Duke University.
In 1988, after Morrill had accepted the Richmond position, Art Jester reflected on the Morrill years in a Centrepiece profile.
“At the heart of Morrill’s leadership was his distinctive ability to grasp and tell Centre’s story. From that all other things flowed,” wrote Jester, then Centre’s director of college relations. “It was the cornerstone for the exceptional accomplishments of the Morrill years and the administrative skill upon which Morrill places the highest premium.”
Centre received its charter from the Kentucky legislature on Jan. 21, 1819, 201 years ago.
by Diane Johnson
December 6, 2019