Biography of President Rita Rice Morris
Making sure that a college education is available to all students in southern Ohio and the Appalachian region has been a primary focus of Dr. Rita Rice Morris, Shawnee State University’s fifth president.
Since joining SSU in 2003, Dr. Morris has led efforts to increase enrollment, expand academic offerings, enhance services for students, and strengthen the role of higher education in regional development.
A native of California and a first-generation college graduate, Dr.
Morris has dedicated her life to higher education, having served as
faculty member, dean, and provost/vice president for academic affairs at
institutions like Shawnee State.
Dr. Morris holds a Ph.D. in communication from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1978), M.A. in speech communication education from Northern Illinois University (1970), and B.A. in speech communication from California State University at Long Beach (1968). She also studied university management at Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Dr. Morris serves as the Honorary Chair of the Ohio College Initiative to Reduce High Risk Drinking and serves on the OSU South Centers’ Liaison Committee, WesBanco Community Development Corporation, the Southern Ohio Medical Center Board of Directors, and the Shawnee State University Development Foundation,
Additionally, she serves on the Association of American State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) professional development committee, membership committee, and Council of State Representatives; the Entrepreneurial Signature Program Advisory Board, the Council of Presidents of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA); the Mid-South Conference of Presidents; Educate the Tri-State; and the Ohio Inter-University Council of Presidents Executive Committee.