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SSU Board of Trustees Honors Morris and McCoy


June 16


The SSU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Rita Rice Morris President Emeritus.

At its meeting last month, the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Rita Rice Morris President Emeritus and to name the University Center in her honor.

“Dr. Morris has led Shawnee State University for nearly half of its history and, during that time, she oversaw significant growth in academic programming, student services, facilities, enrollment, and community support,” Board Chair Melissa Higgs-Horwell, said. “Among the most significant efforts she led to enhance student life was the expansion of the University Center. We, as a board, are grateful for the lasting impact that she has had on Shawnee State and our community.”

Board Chair Melissa Higgs-Horwell honoring Dr. Rita Rice Morris at Board of Trustees meeting

Morris has served as SSU’s president since 2003. During her administration, SSU experienced an overall increase in enrollment of 17 percent and an increase in degree attainment of 48 percent. Morris oversaw more than $26 million in campus expansion, renovation, and improvements during a time of reduced state funding for capital projects. Expansion of the University Center was made possible through a unique partnership between administration and students that allowed for innovative support of the project.

“Words are inadequate to describe how much this means to me,” Morris said. “Shawnee State, its people, the students we serve, and this community will always be special to me. I’m proud of everything we accomplished together through the years and plan to stay connected.”

During the meeting, the Board also named Jack McCoy Trustee Emeritus, expressing gratitude for his leadership and service to the board.

McCoy served a nine-year term as trustee from 2002 to 2011, during which time he served as chairperson for three years. He returned to the board in 2013 to fill an unexpired term of a fellow trustee and led the recent Presidential Search for Shawnee State University’s sixth president.

“Jack’s leadership, service, and commitment to the community, has benefitted Shawnee State, the region, and the state,” Higgs-Horwell said.


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