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New Public Affairs Leader Named for UT Health Science Center
Michelle Morris held marketing, public relations positions at Abilene Christian University for 16 years
Michelle Morris, Ed.D., a marketing and public relations specialist, has been named assistant vice president for public affairs in the Office of Institutional Advancement at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Morris, currently the vice president for university relations at Abilene Christian University, begins her new role Aug. 4. She will provide leadership for the UT Health Science Center at Houston's four public affairs teams, which include communications, media relations, web communications, and special events and creative services. She also will create and oversee a marketing and community relations team and work closely with university leadership to launch branding, marketing and fund-raising initiatives in the coming months.
"This role is a perfect fit for my background and experience, and I felt called to pursue it," Morris said. "I'm excited about joining the team at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and I look forward to helping develop new strategies for showcasing the outstanding people and programs this university has to offer."
Morris has worked at ACU for 16 years. She was the director of news information from 1988 to 1992. She returned to Abilene Christian University in 1997 and has since served as director of marketing and public relations, assistant vice president for university and alumni relations, and vice president for university relations. In that time, ACU celebrated numerous successes under Morris' leadership. She chaired a year-long Centennial Celebration, and her team achieved record freshman enrollment in 2005 and record overall enrollment in 2006. Her creative team has won more than 250 regional and national awards, and her public affairs staff also has raised awareness of ACU's technology initiatives through story placements in regional and national media.
"Effectively communicating about and marketing the university will be among our highest priorities in the next few years," said Kevin Dillon, executive vice president, chief operating and financial officer at the UT Health Science Center at Houston. "We are fortunate to recruit Michelle Morris into this role, which will be key to the success of this important objective for the future of the UT Health Science Center at Houston."
Dillon chaired the search committee for the new assistant vice president of public affairs. Susan Coulter, vice president for the Office of Institutional Advancement, thanked Dillon and the other nine search committee members for their terrific work to identify such a qualified professional for the position.
"We're delighted that Michelle is joining us as the assistant vice president for public affairs," Coulter said. "Her outstanding experience and remarkable energy will be of great value as we continue to develop the UT Health Science Center at Houston into one of the finest health science centers in the nation." Early in her career, Morris was a reporter and medical writer for the Abilene Reporter-News. She founded The Morris Agency, a public relations firm, in Morristown, Tenn., in 1994 and served a variety of clients there including the hospital, city, Chamber of Commerce, and regional banks and small businesses.
She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at ACU and completed her doctorate in higher education administration at Texas Tech in 2003. Morris and her husband, Ric, have two daughters: Sara and Corinne.
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