University History

Dr. Richard L. Morrill

President, 1988-1998


Richard L. Morrill, Ph.D., became Chancellor and Distinguished University Professor of Ethics and Democratic Values at the University of Richmond July 1, 1998, following his 10-year presidency of the University of Richmond from September 30, 1988, to June 30, 1998. On his retirement from the presidency, the University’s Board created the professorship he now holds that is to carry his name. Prior to his association with the University, he served as President of Centre College from 1982 to 1988 and as President of Salem College from 1979 to 1982.

He began his teaching career in 1967 at Wells College before moving to Chatham College where he served as Associate Professor of Religion, Executive Assistant to the President and Associate Provost. He served at the Pennsylvania State University from 1977–1979 as Chief of Staff to the University Provost.

Dr. Morrill received his A.B. in History from Brown University in 1961, graduating magna cum laude, his B.D. in Religious Thought in 1964 from Yale University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and the recipient of the Tew Prize for excellence in studies; and his Ph.D. in Religion from Duke University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. Dr. Morrill attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard in 1974. He has received honorary degrees from four institutions, including the École des Haute Études Internationales in Paris, France, and he is a member of the Order of Academic Palms. He studied in France as an undergraduate, principally at L’Institut D’Études Politiques and is fluent in French. In 1997, he served as a member of the Organization for Economic Development’s (OECD) four-person team to evaluate the initial years of study in French Universities.

Dr. Morrill has written widely on issues of values and ethics in higher education and has published several articles and made numerous presentations on strategic planning and leadership for colleges and universities. One of his special interests is the relationship between undergraduate education and civic and professional responsibilities. He is the author of Teaching Values in College (1980) and Strategic Leadership in Academic Affairs: Clarifying the Board’s Responsibilities (April 2002-AGB). He has a book in progress on Strategic Leadership: Using Strategy as a Process and Discipline of Leadership in Colleges and Universities. He has recently taught theCore Course, “Exploring Human Experience” in the School of Arts and Sciences and led seminars on “Strategic Leadership” in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.

He served as a member of the board of Central Fidelity Banks, Inc., and as a board officer of The Association of American Colleges and Universities and was recently a member of the National Panel for AAC&U’s project on “Greater Expectations for Higher Education.” He was chairman of the College Commission and president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Dr. Morrill serves currently as a board member of the Teagle Foundation, the Williamsburg Investment Trust, the Library of Virginia Foundation, the World Affairs Council of Richmond, the Tredegar Corporation, the Albemarle Corporation and the Greater Richmond Chamber Foundation. He is a member of the executive committee of the Christian Children’s Fund International Board of Directors and former Chairman of CCF. He is a member of the CIC (Council of Independent Colleges) Panel of Presidential Consultants.

Dr. Morrill is married to Martha Leahy Morrill and they have two married daughters and three grandsons and a granddaughter. He is a native of Hingham, Massachusetts.