Provost Kathryn Morris to leave Butler to become president of St. Lawrence University

Provost Kathryn Morris will be leaving Butler to take a position as president at St. Lawrence University. Photo courtesy of Butler.edu.

SOPHIE CIOKAJLO | STAFF REPORTER | sciokajl@butler.edu

On Feb. 4, President Danko announced that Kathryn Morris, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, will be leaving Butler at the end of the semester to become president of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. 

Morris has been at Butler for 24 years, beginning her career as an assistant professor of psychology in the fall of 1996. Morris said Butler was the first institution to offer her a job after graduate school at the University of Texas Austin, but that it also was exactly what she was looking for. 

“I was interested in being at a place that was a smaller, private institution that was undergraduate focused, liberal arts-based and hopefully in the Midwest,” Morris said. 

Morris, who was appointed provost in 2012, has spent the last eight years overseeing all academic ongoings at Butler, including fund allocations for the various colleges and programs, faculty decisions and study-abroad programs. 

As provost, Morris coordinated new academic staff-led development programs for all faculty. Morris said this, along with her reallocation of funds to create a larger stipend for the Butler Summer Institute, were some of her proudest accomplishments as an administrator. 

In terms of her favorite memory as provost, Morris said she had to choose teaching on the GALA, global adventures in liberal arts, program in Australia spring of 2020. As the only Butler faculty member on the trip, Morris taught a CORE curriculum class for the students each morning.

“It’s a recent experience, it was a really interesting and distinctive one, and I think part of the reason it was important to me is because it was teaching, and I came to Butler in the first place to teach,” Morris said. 

The students who attended this GALA trip said developing a close relationship with an administrator such as Morris was a key part of their experience. 

Junior psychology major Stephanie Smith said Morris gave her much more than just classroom instruction during the trip.

“I’m honestly very thankful to know her as a human being, not only as a professor, but she has a great heart and cares a lot about the Butler students,” Smith said. 

As an administrator, Morris rarely had the opportunity to teach, so the GALA trip was a unique moment where she was teaching full-time and attending to her many responsibilities as provost. 

Karlie Hutchinson, a junior international business major, said the students on the GALA trip were at first a little scared to have an administrator on the trip, since the average student on campus does not often interact with high-level administration, but that they all came to value their relationship with Morris. 

“I think that was just really unique to see a leader of our university be able to influence our learning so heavily and really push what she was teaching,” Hutchinson said. 

These GALA students are just a small group of the people that Morris said she will miss most about Butler. Morris said she hopes to maintain her strong relationships with former students and faculty and staff. 

“It’s not an easy thing to leave, but it does feel like the right next professional step for me and I’m very excited about it,” Morris said. 

Morris was not looking to leave Butler; she came across the advertisement for the position at St. Lawrence by accident initially, but was intrigued by the position and figured there was no harm in investigating and applying. Morris said the presidency at St. Lawrence became more and more interesting to her throughout the application process and that she feels she is a perfect fit for the position both personally and professionally. 

Both Hutchinson and Smith said they will miss having an administrator on campus that they feel comfortable with, but they know Morris will have just as much of an impact at her new institution. 

“Butler will definitely miss her positive attitude, bright spirit and warm smile,” Smith said. She’s very loved here, for sure.”

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