Today I would like to spend some time introducing myself to you and giving you some background on me in the hope that I will become more transparent in my thought process and decision making on behalf of the Association.
I am a native of Linn County. In fact, I own a farm about 6 miles west of Sugar Valley that has been in our family since 1884. That makes me a 5th generation Linn County resident. My wife, Kerry (Barnes) Morrell, and her family have been here, in Linn County, even longer than my family. Kerry and I went to high school together at Jayhawk Linn High School. I was in the first graduating class of JLHS in May of 1973.
Since most of my family members were lifelong farmers, I was a first generation college student. I graduated with a BA and MS from Emporia State University and Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado. I studied education as an undergrad and higher education administration for my two graduate degrees.
I worked in higher education administration for 42 years before retiring this past fall. In order to progress to higher levels of college administration it was often necessary to relocate. Along my career path I worked at six different institutions, 12 jobs, 4 states and 2 countries. My entry level job was as a student worker in the residence hall and my highest level position was Vice President at two different institutions. A highlight for Kerry and me was to work in the United Arab Emirates on the shores of the Persian Gulf for two years at American style institutions that did business and instruction in English. While we were there we took the opportunity to travel widely in the Middle East and beyond.
The opportunity to work at some of the finest educational institutions in the area and beyond(Emporia State, Northern Colorado, University of Kansas, Central Missouri, Khalifa University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln), the work has been a blessing for this ole farm kid. The farm I grew up on was a dairy and crop farm. We milked about 70 head of cows so travel opportunities were limited; Cows must be milked twice a day, every day of the year, with no exceptions. By the time the cows were milked, fed and the barn cleaned we could travel 2 hours, visit for 2 hours and then drive back home in hours, just in time to do the evening milking and chores all over again.
Given this background I can say that I know what hard work is about, and I think with the common sense of a 'son of the soil'. My hope is that these two attributes, and others that I possess, will serve me well and long in this endeavor to take the Association to the next level!
Richard C. Morrell