President leaves E&H
EMORY, Va. - Governor- elect Tim Kaine has appointed Emory & Henry College President Thomas R. Morris to serve as Virginia's Secretary of Education, officials announced on Jan. 6.
Morris will officially step down as the 19th president of Emory & Henry, ending a 14-year period of leadership. His accomplishments include a 44 percent increase in enrollment, an endowment that more than quadrupled, and a major land acquisition that doubled the size of the campus.
A former president of Radford University, Douglas Covington, has been named interim president of Emory & Henry College. Retired from Radford University in spring 2005, Covington will serve while the college's Board of Trustees searches for Morris' replacement.
Covington served as Radford's fifth president for 10 years. With his appointment to Radford, he became the first African- American to head a predominantly white university in Virginia. He began work at Emory & Henry on Jan. 16.
The Morris years
A former University of Richmond political science professor, Morris began work as Emory & Henry's president July 1, 1992.
"It has been an enormous honor for me to have served as president of Emory & Henry these past 14 years," Morris said.
"I consider this college to be among Virginia's finest institutions of higher education and one with a bright future. While I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities associated with Virginia education, my family and I will miss being part of this promising community of gifted scholars and students."
During his tenure, Morris presided over the construction of a new academic center, McGlothlin-Street Hall, and major renovation to an existing academic building, Gibson Hall. His leadership resulted in the renovation of the King Athletic Center and the addition to that building of a modern fitness center.
In addition to these construction projects, Emory & Henry, during the Morris years, renovated numerous residence halls, transformed an underutilized building into a student center, improved and expanded businesses in downtown Emory, created an art gallery in the Emory train depot, constructed a building for the E&H Outdoor Leadership Program, and recently broke ground for two new student residence houses.
During his presidency, major enhancements have been made in the academic area, according to Emory & Henry officials. New programs were established in international studies, environmental studies, and athletic training. He presided over the creation of the Appalachian Center for Community Service and a Visual and Performing Arts Division. Two programs also began in graduate studies: a master's program in English and language arts and another in American history.
In the area of fund raising, the college completed in 2001 a capital campaign that raised $51 million, far exceeding its $40 million goal. Since 1992, Emory & Henry has received the three largest single gifts in its history, including two $5 million gifts and a $10 million bequest from the estate of Anna Bryant Thompson of Richmond.
Fundraising has contributed to an endowment that has grown from $16.8 million to $76.1 million and a growth in enrollment that has increased from 780 students in 1992 to 1,120 students in 2005. Emphasis has remained on traditional age college students seeking a liberal arts education.
"President Morris has demonstrated remarkable leadership that has advanced Emory & Henry tremendously and positioned it well for continued growth and achievement," said Tom McGlothlin, chairman of the Emory & Henry Board of Trustees. "We regret losing him as president but celebrate the contribution he will make to education throughout the Commonwealth at all levels."
A noted political analyst whose commentary has been used by both regional and national media outlets, Morris has worked with past governors on boards and commissions. Morris chaired the Commission on Virginia's State and Local Tax Structure in the 21st Century and was a member of Governor Mark Warner's Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness.