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Robin W. Morgan
Robin W. Morgan will become the University of Delaware's 11th provost on July 1.

Robin Morgan named UD's 11th provost

New chief academic officer selected after competitive national search

Interim Provost Robin W. Morgan will become the University of Delaware’s 11th provost on July 1, marking the first time a woman has held the role of UD’s chief academic officer in a permanent capacity, President Dennis Assanis announced today.

“We conducted a highly competitive national search that yielded a number of first-rate candidates, but Dr. Morgan emerged as a clear leader,” Assanis said.

Morgan was appointed as interim provost in October after former Provost Domenico Grasso stepped down from the position. Since then, she has assumed leadership of several key academic priorities for the University, including the proposed establishment of a new graduate college and the cluster-hiring initiative for faculty designed to promote UD’s progress in interdisciplinary programs and inclusive excellence.

“Over the last seven months, Robin has assembled an impressive record as interim provost,” Assanis said. “Before working closely with her, I knew Robin as a highly respected educator and scholar, but after watching her in action, I am equally impressed with her abilities to lead, to inspire and to effect change. Her energy, integrity, analytical mind and innate knack for bringing people together, combined with her dedication and loyalty to UD, are great assets."

A search committee representing all colleges at the University led the provost search process, which was confidential, but included input from multiple and diverse campus constituencies, including faculty, staff, students, trustees, campus leaders and alumni. The competitive field of candidates was narrowed first to five, and then to two, before Assanis made his final decision.

“Serving UD as interim provost over the past seven months has been a great privilege, and my pride in being a part of the UD community has grown immensely,” Morgan said. “UD is at a pivotal point in its history, offering unparalleled opportunity to chart the University’s future under President Assanis’ leadership. I look forward to working closely with the president and our partners on and off campus to enhance our educational and research programs at all levels, expand and renew our faculty, build our infrastructure, strengthen our community partnerships, and foster a campus climate where all are welcomed and invited to participate. I am very grateful for this opportunity.”  

Just prior to her position as interim provost, Morgan was chair of the University’s Department of Biological Sciences, but her career at the University began in 1985 when she joined the Department of Animal and Food Sciences as an assistant professor. She became an associate professor in 1991 and a full professor in 1996, and has held a joint faculty appointment with the Department of Biological Sciences for many years.

In 2001, Morgan was named acting dean of the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), a role she took over officially the following year. After 11 years leading CANR, she became the interim chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for two years before being named chair in 2016.

Morgan earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Meredith College and her Ph.D. in biology from The Johns Hopkins University. She also did postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley.

She has been involved in cancer research since entering graduate school at Johns Hopkins in 1977. Since joining the faculty of the University of Delaware, she has worked on Marek’s disease, a herpesvirus-induced T-cell lymphoma of chickens. Her lab has studied how Marek’s disease virus (MDV) induces T-cell lymphomas and how vaccines protect against tumor formation.

A member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Morgan has served on a number of association boards and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for Longwood Gardens. Some of her prior memberships include the Board of Directors of the Delmarva Poultry Industry, the University of Delaware Leadership Council, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Horticulture and the Council of Farm Organizers.

She has also received a host of fellowships and awards, including the Outstanding Alumni Award from Meredith College, the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. Outstanding Achievement Award and the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) Phibro Animal Health Excellence in Poultry Research Award.

Morgan and her husband, Jim Damewood, have two children, Audrey and James.

As the University’s chief academic officer, the provost is responsible for administration of all programs of instruction, research and service, and for facilitating the success of the University’s faculty and students. Reporting to the provost are the deans of UD’s seven colleges, the deputy provost for academic affairs, vice provost for diversity, vice provost for faculty affairs, vice provost for libraries, vice president for student life, vice provost for graduate and professional education, vice provost of enrollment management, and associate provost and chief of staff.

Assanis said he and Morgan will continue their focus on the University’s priorities as she officially assumes her role as provost.

“I am looking forward to building on our close working relationship,” he said, “and I am excited by all that we will accomplish to take the University of Delaware forward.”

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