Chancellor John Morgan

Chancellor John Morgan Announces His Retirement


TBR Chancellor John Morgan to Retire Jan. 31

PRESS RELEASE — Chancellor John Morgan has announced his plan to retire effective Jan. 31, 2016.

Morgan, who has served as chancellor of the state’s university and community college system since October 2010 and led the system’s transformation to become more comprehensive and student-focused, called the announcement bittersweet and said it was timed to acknowledge the accomplishments achieved by the system’s institutions over the past five years.

“I have been honored to serve the state for many years, but my role with the Tennessee Board of Regents and this opportunity to work with the people who shape the next generation of our citizens and leaders has been the most rewarding of my life,” Morgan said.

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“John Morgan has been an exemplary system leader, setting the standard for achievement for systems at the national level.  Under his leadership, his system was an early developer of important innovations that are now part of the higher education landscape, such as performance funding, restructuring of remedial education, and intentionally designed transfer pathways.  The results of these and other innovative strategies that leverage the role of the system are clear:  TBR’s equity gaps are closing and their completion gains have exceeded their goals.  The contributions to Tennessee’s Drive to 55 are undeniable.  He has also provided important direction to the National Association of System Heads as this organization moves into a new phase.  His quiet guidance, integrity and generosity of spirit will be sorely missed.”
Rebecca Martin - Executive Director, National Association of System Heads 


"During his five years as Chancellor, John Morgan has pioneered new approaches to leveraging the power of higher education systems to the benefit of the people, communities and economy of Tennessee. Under his leadership, the Tennessee Board of Regents has emerged as one of the finest and most innovative higher education systems in the country, as evidenced by their support of the Tennessee Transfer Pathways and Drive to 55 initiatives. By fostering collaboration among the 46 institutions of the TBR, John has taken student success and completion to new heights, inspiring numerous other system heads to follow in his footsteps. He is a man of integrity and principle, a close friend, and I will miss him dearly."
Nancy L. Zimpher – Chancellor, The State University of New York


“John Morgan has been a thoughtful and insightful leader for higher education for Tennessee and for the entire nation.  I have enjoyed the privilege of working with John for several years, first as a fellow chancellor of a system and then after I assumed the role of President of SHEEO.  His ideas, his commitment to students and their success, and his good common sense have been on display in every setting.  Last summer, he impressed higher education leaders from around the country as he spoke about what the Tennessee Board of Regents and its institutions were doing to advance the success of students in need of developmental education.  Perhaps more telling than his excellent presentation were the heartfelt and masterful statements he made during subsequent discussions with other chancellors and commissioners.  Some of them came to me afterward asking ‘Who is this guy?  He is great.'  And, really, that is John.  Self effacing but persuasive.  Low key but inspiring.  Thoughtful and evidence based. I especially will remember the private conversations we have had where we could and did engage seriously about the challenges and the opportunities we, as the system heads, were called upon to address. Some higher education leaders reach national prominence through efforts over a very long career in the academy.  John took a different route—but earned that prominence nonetheless.  I have very much appreciated working with John Morgan and hope he will stay engaged with me and with higher education in America."
George P. Pernsteiner – President, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association


“While sorry to say John will be retiring, I’m happy to say that John was such an impressive choice as the Board of Regents Chancellor and the right choice for the time period in which nationally recognized, thoughtful reforms have been implemented in Tennessee. John really made the difference in implementing this important focus on dramatically improving higher education access and attainment in Tennessee. His contribution to higher education in his state – and beyond – will be felt for many years to come. He can certainly be proud of his enormous accomplishments throughout his career.”
Scott Pattison – Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Governor’s Association


"John was a visionary leader for Tennessee. He will be missed. His legacy will be the significant impact he had on drafting and implementing Complete College Tennessee. He is one of the finest leaders I have had the pleasure to work with."
Stan Jones – President, Complete College America


“Tennessee higher education will miss his bold and courageous leadership.”
Rick Legon – President, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges


“With the Complete College Act and the Drive to 55 initiative, the state has been asking more of its higher education system than ever before, and John has guided the Tennessee Board of Regents system admirably since becoming chancellor in 2010. He’s served the state in a number of roles since 1976, including serving as deputy governor to Gov. Bredesen and 10 years as the state’s comptroller, and I am grateful to John for his service to Tennessee and wish him all the best.”
Bill Haslam — Governor, State of Tennessee


“Chancellor Morgan’s visionary leadership of the Tennessee Board of Regents helped bring about significant reforms and improvements in our state’s higher education system. That leadership was demonstrated by his able work to guide TBR's institutions during implementation of the Complete College Tennessee Act and Governor Haslam's Drive to 55 initiatives. As president of MTSU, I have respected and appreciated his counsel and guidance as we secured our $147-million Science Building, one of the top scientific teaching and research facilities in the nation, and put forward our Quest for Student Success, which has transformed how we teach and serve our students. I have enjoyed working with the chancellor and, on behalf of our students, faculty and staff, we thank him for his service to our state and system.”
Sidney McPhee – President, Middle Tennessee State University


"His absence will be a tremendous loss to the entire TBR System and State of Tennessee. He had the ability to understand the needs of each university. This could not have been more evident than with his relationship with TSU. We will truly miss him as an advocate and true friend of our university."
Glenda Baskin Glover – President, Tennessee State University


“We are deeply grateful for chancellor John Morgan’s years of loyal service and commitment, not only to the University of Memphis and the Tennessee Board of Regents but to the entire state of Tennessee. We wish him all the best in retirement and know that the work he has overseen will continue and have a positive impact on higher education.”
M. David Rudd – President, University of Memphis


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