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SSU Board of Trustees Selects Dr. Rick Kurtz as New President


February 24


Dr. Rick Kurtz will be the sixth president of Shawnee State University.

Dr. Rick Kurtz

The Shawnee State University Board of Trustees officially announced the selection of Dr. Rick Kurtz as the sixth president of the university during a special meeting of the board Tuesday, Feb. 24. Kurtz will succeed Dr. Rita Rice Morris, who is retiring at the end of June after serving as president for more than 12 years.

Kurtz most recently served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. Previously, he served as an associate dean in the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

“We spent many months, working with various groups, in identifying the characteristics that we believe our next president must possess in order to advance our unique mission and meet the challenges that face higher education,” Jack McCoy, Chair of the SSU Presidential Search Committee, said. “We believe that Rick is the right person to continue moving us forward.”

McCoy said candidates were assessed based on their experiences in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, enrollment enhancement, creating an environment for excellence, and building partnerships.

The process to identify the next president of Shawnee State University began last May. Over the past nine months, the search committee worked with an advisory committee comprised of community leaders, faculty members, students, university employees, alumni, donors, and supporters, to identify a comprehensive list of characteristics for the next president and worked with an executive search firm to identify potential candidates. Over the past several weeks, three candidates, including Kurtz, visited campus, interviewed with the advisory committee, and met with various members of the university community and public.

Kurtz will begin serving as Shawnee State University’s sixth president on July 1, 2015.

Kurtz earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; a Master of Arts in Public Administration at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska. Prior to his career in higher education, he served various roles in federal government services providing expertise in policy analysis, program budgeting and implementation, community outreach, and interagency cooperative planning and partnerships for organizations including the USDA Agriculture Research Service, National Park Service in Anchorage, Alaska, and the U.S. Navy-Navy Reserve.


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