Staggers to become president of Morris College

S.C. native has served at college for 25 years

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 4/1/18

Morris College’s interim

president can remove the

word “interim” from his

title.

A media alert from the

college Friday said Morris’

Board of Trustees

named Interim …

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Staggers to become president of Morris College

S.C. native has served at college for 25 years

Posted

Morris College’s interim president can remove the word “interim” from his title.

A media alert from the college Friday said Morris’ Board of Trustees named Interim President Leroy Staggers as “president- elect” on Thursday at a special called meeting.

College Board Chairman the Rev. Mack Hines said Friday that Staggers will serve with that title through June 30. On July 1, Staggers will officially become Morris’ new president.

Staggers has served as interim president of the college since July 1, 2017, when he replaced long-time president Luns Richardson, who retired on June 30. Staggers has worked at Morris for 25 years since being hired in 1993. For most of that time, he was the college’s academic dean, in which capacity he supervised all academic programs at Morris, all faculty members and academic instructional support programs, according to the college.

Hines said he thinks Staggers is the right person for the job considering his long history with the school and that he’s a scholar with an earned Ph.D.

“The faculty knows him and respects him, and the students do, as well,” Hines said. “He also has a sensitivity to human needs, and he has an open heart for Morris College. He loves the school.”

In its presidential search application process, Hines said 81 applicants applied for the job.

Thursday’s board vote for Staggers was unanimous, Hines said.

A Sumter resident, Staggers is a member of Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church.

Before arriving at Morris, Staggers served as vice president of academic affairs, associate professor of English and director of faculty development at Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina.

A native of Salters in Williamsburg County, Staggers earned his bachelor’s degree from Voorhees College in Denmark and earned both a master’s and a doctorate degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta. Also, Staggers has completed the Harvard University Institute for Education Management program, which addresses the stewardship role played by senior-level leaders at their respective institutions.

As the college’s new president, Staggers will be responsible for guiding Morris through various challenges it faces.

Those include declining enrollment and legal health issues with a mold infestation case that has resulted in a class-action lawsuit.

The college’s official enrollment in Fall 2017 was 747 students, according to the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. In fall 2008, enrollment was 921.

According to commission data and Hines, several other private colleges face similar enrollment issues in recent years. Hines said the college is making concerted efforts to get enrollment back up.