Lynn M. Morton, University of Nevada, Reno English master's degree alumna, is the eighth person and first woman to be named the president of Warren Wilson College. She will assume the presidency July 1, 2017, following a 35-year higher education career, which includes 27 years at Queens University of Charlotte. Serving most recently as provost and vice president for academic affairs, Morton has spent her career focused on student career development; diversity, inclusion and community engagement initiatives; institutional advancement and academic excellence.
"I happened to look at the Warren Wilson College website on the exact day the search firm was announced to find the next president," Morton said. "It was incredible. From that moment, I wanted this presidency and resolved to do my very best to show what a good fit this would be for both the College and me."
Her climb to the highest levels of academia started as a part-time instructor. In addition to Morton's time as a professor, she chaired the English department, directed the first-year writing program, served as an associate vice president for academic affairs and spent four years as dean of the college of arts and sciences. Before joining Queens University of Charlotte, she held teaching positions at Winthrop University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Nevada, Reno.
According to Bill Christy, chairman of the Warren Wilson College Board of Trustees, Morton stood out in the search process.
"We were looking for someone who had a high emotional quotient and would be able to understand the unique qualities of the Warren Wilson College community," Christy said. "Lynn's warmth, clarity of vision, experience in academia and ability to communicate clearly and effectively with diverse constituencies made her an obvious choice for the presidency. Plus, she genuinely wants to be part of this College."
Throughout her academic career, Morton took advantage of opportunities to work within multiple areas of higher education. She has successfully partnered with advancement and Queens' president to raise funds to renovate centers of cultural significance, including a campus library, a fine arts center and a center for peace and social justice. Morton has taken the lead on initiatives to increase enrollment, and she has made efforts to strengthen shared governance and set institutional goals that are achievable and aspirational.
"It's incredibly gratifying to be the first female president. The fact that Warren Wilson College has chosen a female leader says something very positive about the community. It speaks directly to the College's awareness of roles that women can play in leadership positions," Morton pointed out.
Before working in the field, English was the focus of Morton's collegiate pursuits. She holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the University of Nevada, Reno, earned in 1984, and the University of South Carolina, which is where she earned her Ph.D. in Renaissance literature. Morton is also the recipient of multiple awards for superior teaching and recently completed the Council of Independent Colleges Executive Leadership Academy.
A native North Carolinian, Morton has three adult children with her husband, Ric.