Scarlet & Brown Stories

President Morris

October 10, 2022 St. Lawrence University Season 2 Episode 3
President Morris
Scarlet & Brown Stories
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Scarlet & Brown Stories
President Morris
Oct 10, 2022 Season 2 Episode 3
St. Lawrence University

Join us this month as the team sits down with President Kathryn A. Morris, 19th President of St. Lawrence University. President Morris chatted with us about her first year on campus, her three strategic initiatives for the year ahead, and her upcoming Inauguration later this month. We also learned about some of President Morris’ St. Lawrence and North Country favorites. 

Show Notes Transcript

Join us this month as the team sits down with President Kathryn A. Morris, 19th President of St. Lawrence University. President Morris chatted with us about her first year on campus, her three strategic initiatives for the year ahead, and her upcoming Inauguration later this month. We also learned about some of President Morris’ St. Lawrence and North Country favorites. 

[Music Plays]

Beth:  Hello Laurentians, and welcome back to a very special edition of Scarlet & Brown Stories. I'm Beth Dixon, and joining me today is Megan Fry Dozier, and we are so excited to introduce a very special guest, Megan.

Megan:  Yes. We are so excited today to have President Kate Morris joining us on Scarlet & Brown Stories.

Beth:  This is super exciting, not just because we have the president, but also, we're going to be talking to her a couple of weeks before her inauguration on campus. And it's a little unique, because she's actually in her second year, but because of the COVID spike last year, we were unable to celebrate her as the 19th President of the university. So I'm really excited we had the opportunity to chat with her.

Megan:  I am as well, and excited to hear about her first year as president, which had both challenges, but also incredible accomplishments and high points. So, without further ado, let's get right into our conversation.

[Music Plays]

Megan:  It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Kate Morris, St. Lawrence University's 19th President. She arrived at St. Lawrence last summer, following a career at Butler University, where she most recently served as the provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for over eight years.

In her first year at St. Lawrence, Kate has been active in getting to know our students, faculty, and staff. Off campus, she has traveled far and wide to meet members of the Laurentian community. She has experiencing many of our traditions for the first time, including Commencement, Reunion, and her second move in weekend, new student matriculation, and convocation. And we are so excited to have her here with us on Scarlet & Brown Stories.

Beth:  Welcome to the podcast, President Morris, we're so excited to have you.

President Morris:  Thank you, happy to be here.

Beth:  Well, I think it's important for us... Megan, and talked a little bit about traditions and so, one of the things that... I know that Butler must have a lot of traditions, and St. Lawrence certainly has our share of them, and we were wondering as a means of getting to know you a little bit more in your first year at St. Lawrence, what has been your favorite tradition that you've learned about or taken part of in this past year in your first year of presidency?

President Morris:  Well, let me answer that with a few different answers, not just one. So from the student perspective, I would say the tradition that I most enjoyed was Matriculation. I got to do that last year, and then I got to do that again this year. And I really like the way that the students are welcomed into the community by their colleges. And the fact that all of the current students, the sophomores, the juniors, the seniors, who are orientation leaders and CAs, get the students really excited as they're all leaving together in their groups to go start orientation.

I thought that was really nice, particularly this year, when we had the actual bagpipers. Last year in the pandemic, we couldn't do that. But this year we got to see the full scale of it all, so that was on the student side, something I really liked. Another tradition that I very much enjoyed and hadn't ever been a part of anything like this before was the Honor Guard Dinner, which happened at Reunion, and that is the dinner where members of the 50th Reunion class receive what they call the Honor Guard Diploma in recognition of being a 50-year alum of St. Lawrence.

And that event was just absolutely delightful to see all of those folks. And we did it this past year for three years of 50th Reunion classes because there hadn't been a Reunion for the two years before. So it was a big group and there was lots of excitement. I would say those are the true traditions that I've liked the most, but I also feel compelled to answer in a way that's not necessarily about tradition.

The things that I've really enjoyed the most, I would say, are seeing the students in action. So the visits to the New York City program, the visit to the sustainability farm, the visit to the Adirondack semester, and of course the visit to the Kenya semester program were highlights of my year. To see and learn what the students are doing in those really highly experiential programs.

Beth:  I think it's really compelling to hear you say, especially as the leader of our institution, honestly, the traditions that you speak to are either experiential education, but at the end of the day, they're, they're all about community. They're all about acceptance and support. And the things that we hold true as Laurentians of welcoming each other, whether it's to a milestone or to an event. And so I feel like you've gotten to the crux of what it is to be Laurentians in that answer, and I really definitely appreciate that.

President Morris:  Yeah, I think the strength of the community is something I've been talking about a lot over the last year and a half since I was announced as President elect. That became very clear to me during all of the welcome zooms that I did with various constituents on campus. It was particularly palpable at the Adirondack semester last fall when I visited with that group and the students talked about the community that they have developed with each other and the intentionality of that community.

One of the students said, "If we walk by the water filter and don't make sure that it's operating in the right functional way, then later on we're not going to have water. We are also exceptionally interdependent on each other." And they spoke with really great eloquence about the community that was built among the students on that particular program.

Megan: I love that you mentioned our Kenya semester program, and I know you were there this past March celebrating our 50-year study abroad partnership, which is so exciting. And I was wondering if you could dig a little bit more into that experience and tell us a little about what you learned in Kenya.

President Morris:  Yeah, that program, so I've been a big fan of study abroad for a very long time, since I studied abroad as a high school exchange student. That program is remarkable and it's put together in such an incredibly thoughtful way. There's a combination of experiences that the students have when they're on that program. They are on our compound that we own and operate in Nairobi.

They spend time with a rural home stay family somewhere out in the countryside. They spend time in an urban home stay environment. They're in Nairobi somewhere. They spend time with pastoral communities, various places around Kenya, depending on which semester it is that they go. And they have the independent project that they do. That combination of experiences across the semester gives them a very rich and full understanding of the variety of communities that exist in Nairobi or around Kenya. And it's really designed to help any student, no matter what their major is, to learn in this new country for them and to grow and to develop.

And it doesn't matter if they're conservation biology major or a business in the liberal arts major, they are able to find something to do there that is meaningful to them and their future interests.

So, it was really wonderful to see how that program is put together and the various components of it and how they work to create this holistic transformative experience for students. The other thing that I learned while I was there is that what we were celebrating was 50 years of partnerships in Kenya, not just 50 years of study abroad relationship in Kenya.

We hosted a reception and I think we invited something like 46 people and 52 showed up. People who are affiliated with St. Lawrence in some way or the other. And that means that they were host families or alumni of St. Lawrence, either alumni who are American expats now living and working in Kenya or Kenyan alumni who came here and did their education here and are now back in Kenya. The connections are incredible there. So we were celebrating more than just the study abroad program, but all of the connections that we have there as

Beth:  Well. Once again, bringing back to community and connections and support. Which I think that anybody who has studied abroad in Kenya, we were lucky to a few podcasts ago, interview Cooper McCrillis, class of '21 who had his Kenyan semester cut in half because of COVID, and then was able to return this past summer with the Laurentian trip to Kenya and interact with his host families before he met up with the Laurentians in Kenya. And he definitely spoke very highly of the connections, the community aspects of that.

So, I'm really happy to hear that you were able to, without studying for a whole semester there, see the depths of those relationships and what they truly mean to St. Lawrence even though it's half a world away. And I think that those partnerships, whether they're in Kenya or here on campus or across the north country for something that we really pride ourselves with.

In thinking of your first year, you clearly had a challenge when you started right off the gates with a spike in COVID cases both on campus and in the north country. Navigating that pandemic, I'm sure you relied a little bit more on the partners and the community that we had. Can you tell us a little bit about what this taught you about our campus community and the greater launching community?

President Morris:  Yeah. It was a very difficult time at the beginning of the first year in terms of we all went into it with a great deal of optimism. Everybody had been vaccinated. We felt like we were coming out of the pandemic at that period of time. And what we learned was that vaccination might make you less likely to become seriously ill, but it did not stop the infections from happening.

And that became very apparent not only on college campuses around the country, but also in society in general. So I think that part of the reason that it was such a challenge for everyone last fall is that our hopes were dashed. Not just that it happened, but that we thought it was going to be so different than it actually turned out to be. And what we saw is what I would expect. We saw a lot of resilience.

We saw people stepping up. We saw a lot of leadership taking place. I will forever be grateful for the CSMC, the Campus Safety Monitoring Committee that has done an exceptional amount of work over the past two years of the pandemic, both before I arrived at St. Lawrence and after I have been here. So, people have stepped up to solve problems to think through the best way that we can address the challenges, the many challenges that we faced during this period of time.

Where do we put people for a 10-day isolation? How do we make sure that there's enough testing? What's the difference in the way we handle people who are vaccinated, which was the vast majority of our community, and people who had exceptions to that vaccination requirement. So we saw a lot of people step up, and I give the students a lot of credit as well because we put some restrictions on them that frankly most of them did not want to have. Some people were asking for even more restrictions, but most of them were not interested in them. And really it was the compliance with some of those restrictions that helped us to get that outbreak on our campus back under control.

Beth:  I can't imagine whether you're new to the campus as the university president like you were or new to a campus, and the college experience, whether you're our first year or a sophomore. Having to navigate not only this transition to a new environment in a new school, but also have to navigate your safety in a way that has not been a consideration. And it's great to hear that you felt like our campus partners were there to do the research and make those tough decisions and keep safety at utmost importance as everybody was transitioning back from a three semester year into this normal school model that we have of two semesters. Did you have any outreach from alumni or parents that you really felt like helped support you in those first couple of months?

President Morris:  Absolutely. People have been very gracious with their expressions of support from the time that I was announced as president elect back in, I think that was February of 2021. And people continue. I continue to be amazed to get an email from somebody that just says, "Hey, I meant to contact you many months ago and I didn't. Hope it's going well. Welcome to the community." Just yesterday I got a message via Instagram direct message saying, “Hey, congratulations on starting your second year.”

From someone I haven't actually met yet. So there's that constant sense of welcome from this community. People are also not hesitant to express when they are not happy with the decisions that get made. And this is the thing about navigating this pandemic. Not only are there physical safety concerns that we've all had to deal with, but there's also psychological safety concerns. There are real psychological challenges associated with isolation, associated with social restrictions, and trying to balance those two things and come up with a spot where we are prioritizing both the safety and the wellbeing of members of our community.

There's no way that we could make everybody happy. So we had a lot of outreach that was supportive, and we had outreach that was less than supportive. And there were people who felt like we were not implementing strong enough safety recommendations, everything up to and including arguing that we should shut down campus and send students home and be fully remote. To arguments that we were doing too much, and we needed to actually throw away mask mandates and just act like there is no pandemic.

So, there were people all around. One group that I feel compelled to mention would be local public health folks. And we've had a great deal of support from the county public health, from the St. Lawrence Public Health and good partnerships off campus in the local community helping us in the other colleges in the area to navigate a challenging situation and to think through what's the best way to come up with this balance when we're thinking about both physical safety and psychological wellbeing.

Megan:  That's one of the things that's so powerful about St. Lawrence, is that we are so integrated into that community and our associated colleges compared to some other institutions, and that's part of our special relationship and why Laurentians are so close. President Morris, you mentioned community wellness, which I know is one of your three strategic initiatives for the year ahead. So I was wondering if you could speak to that a little bit more and are other strategic initiatives for the year as well?

President Morris:  Sure. And we'll start with wellness, since that's where you started your question. It's been a tough time for folks due to the pandemic. So the question is what can we do to support employees, our faculty and staff, and to support our students as we come out of this pandemic environment? On the employee side of things, we've done a couple of different things over the past year, including trying to give people a little bit more time at points in the year where it makes sense to do so.

For example, we remained predominantly closed for a couple of extra days after winter break last winter, and we did the same thing over the 4th of July this summer. And we've piloted a program where, if possible, people have the opportunity to either work remotely or to take Friday afternoons off if they were still able to get their work done at other points in time.

And one of the benefits of these types of changes is that when everyone is off at the same time, you get a little bit of a room to breathe. Whereas if we all take vacation days at different points in time, you come back from vacation and you feel like everything else continued except you and you might as well have not gone because you're farther behind than you were before the vacation. So, one of the things we've tried to do is to figure out ways to give people together more of a breathing room at the same time.

So that's one of our examples. And we recently announced our rejuvenation grants program, which put about $50,000 of support out there for our faculty and staff for those who put forward grant proposals. And we believe that those programs that are going to be funded by those grants should support approximately a fourth of our employees.

Beth:  And for the students, I imagine having the employees, as Megan and I both are, when we feel recharged, we can only help to support the students and the wellness initiatives that we have there. Can you speak a little bit to perhaps the Jed Foundation or the other initiatives that we've done from a student perspective?

President Morris:  Sure. On the student side of things, we've implemented a pretty significant number of new resources since I arrived. About a year ago, we developed the Office of Student Wellness. We hired a wellness coordinator. That person got promoted to be a director. Now all of student activities reports through that Office of Wellness, so that student activities are intentionally focused on wellbeing for students.

And the Jed Foundation is an outside organization that was founded by two parents who lost their son Jed to suicide. And their goal in developing this foundation was to do everything in their power to keep the spirit of their son Jed alive by helping to support holistic wellbeing for predominantly college and university students.

And then they also have programs with high schools, and they are particularly focused on overall holistic wellbeing. They are of course focused on suicide prevention, and they are focused on the prevention of alcohol and drug misuse and dependence.

And they have a holistic program that they do where over a four-year period of time, institutions can partner with the JED Foundation, and it uses a typical assessment kind of strategy where at the beginning, students complete a survey called the Healthy Mind Survey to help you understand where your students are at that particular moment in time. They also come to campus, and they do a thorough analysis of your policies, your procedures, your programs, your offerings that support student wellbeing, and then they help you to develop a strategic plan related to community wellness for your students.

And to implement things where you are not currently operating in the best practice manner. And then you follow those things up across time and at the end of four years, you do the survey again to see what kind of impact you have made. So this past year was year one for us where we did the Healthy Mind survey and the Jed Foundation did their assessment, and they have made a variety of recommendations to us that we're in now getting ready to implement this year and next year.

Beth:  That's fantastic. It's really great to hear that we're being proactive not only on the faculty staff front, but on the student front to make sure that our student's wellness is at the forefront, including their safety as we discussed before as well. Can you talk to your other strategic initiatives as well? I know that the Center for the Environment was one that you had.

President Morris:  Yeah, sure. So the Center for the Environment is a concept that's been around at St. Lawrence for a little while, but it's not yet been implemented. And my hope is that it is up and running beginning next summer. And the whole idea behind a Center for the Environment is, first of all, it's taking advantage of a unique space that we occupy at St. Lawrence.

Between the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondacks, we have a unique location. We have a student body that is very interested in the environment, in sustainability, in climate change, in the reciprocal relationship that human beings have with the environment around us. And our students are interested in these topics regardless of what their majors are. This is not something that's limited to biology majors. This is something that our English majors and our econ majors are interested in as well.

So, this is an opportunity for our students to be engaged in a topic that is important to them, that is a passion for them, that might also complement the academic work that they're doing in their major discipline of choice and help to prepare them for whatever comes post-graduation. So we can help them to understand how to be an effective advocate for the environment, how to get involved in policy, and maybe how to get involved in a job related to the environment in some way or another.

Beth:  That's incredible.

Megan:  That is, And I think that takes us right into our third strategic priority for the year post-college impact. Could you speak to that a little bit?

President Morris:  Sure. And I might have even set us right up for that.

Beth:  I think you did. That was a pretty great transition.

President Morris:  So that's what I am calling Laurentian Impact. And just to give you a little bit of context, there's a lot of schools right now that are talking about career placement, and they are talking about those outcomes that happened immediately after students graduate from college.

And of course, we want our students to get jobs, we want them to get into graduate school or professional school or go to a service program like the Peace Corps, whatever it is that they're interested in doing immediately after college. We want them to be successful, and they are. We have a very nice placement rate for immediately after graduation and in the months thereafter. But what I want to see St. Lawrence do is to focus on an even bigger picture. And that it's not just about getting that job after college. It's not just about even having a career that builds off of that first job.

It's about having a life of meaning and purpose where that work that a person does creates a positive impact in the world. And that's the Laurentian Impact. That it's much bigger and it's much longer term than getting your first job. That we want our graduates to be doing really good things in the world that give them meaning and purpose in their life, and also help to make things better for the people around them.

And each of us has our own pathway to doing this. So we have to help students figure out what are their passions? What is the thing that makes them feel pulled to do something, to feel compelled to do something, and then help them figure out how to take their academic endeavors, their co-curricular endeavors, these experiential learning opportunities that we have, and turn that passion into something that is the first job, and ultimately the thing that gives them meaning and spreads that meaning to other people.

Beth:  I particularly find this very interesting and encouraging, given my role at St. Lawrence where I work with the New York City semester program, bridging this connection between alumni and students to figure out what is that impact that they would like to make, both on their own lives and in the world. So it's very exciting to hear this, and I look forward to figuring out what my part in all of this can be.

I definitely think that one of the things that this generation of student is interested in is figuring out what is my purpose in making this world a better place? And so when we have curriculum and programs that encourage that, I think that you'll find that it helps in the other strategic initiatives. It helps with the wellness, and it helps with the center for the environment. It helps in all of those different capacities.

President Morris:  Yeah, I'm so glad you said that, Beth, and I'm glad it resonates for you. But I also want to say that as you frame this idea of career preparation and career placement into something a little bit bigger, it also challenges us as employees to figure out what that means for us. What is my purpose? What drives me? Why do I go to work in the morning? What is it about this work that I'm doing at St. Lawrence that is providing meaning? And I was challenged with this at my prior institution when I participated in a program that was a faculty staff development program designed to help faculty and staff think about our purpose, our sense of vocation, our sense of calling.

Megan:  And I think that takes us right into celebrating your calling as our 19th President at St. Lawrence University at the time of this recording. I think we're about six weeks away from your inauguration, which we are so excited to host on campus. Could you tell us what you're looking forward to most for that weekend?

President Morris:  So, an inauguration has a personal meaning for the president who's being inaugurated, but it's really an important institutional and academic ceremony. Just like matriculation. Just like commencement. These are things that don't happen very many times. It's something that's happened 19 times at St. Lawrence and other schools might have more or less, but it's not something that happens that often.

And there's a lot of academic tradition associated with it. There will be delegates from other institutions wearing the regalia of those other institutions in the same way that we send delegates of St. Lawrence to inaugurations for other presidents. And there are some other traditional components of what inauguration looks like.

So, it is a big moment for the institution, and I hope it punctuates a time for people to sit back and reflect on these issues of meaning and vocation and calling that we've just been talking about. What is St. Lawrence all about? How are we living into our mission? All of those things are really great from an institutional perspective. For me personally, what I'm looking forward to the most is that I have people from all facets of my life who are coming here to support me through this, and that is really special.

Beth:  Well, I think I speak for so many people when I say that it was devastating to us all that we couldn't celebrate you last year in person. And if anything, it is just amped up the excitement for this weekend for you. So, we are so excited to have the opportunity to celebrate you and celebrate St. Lawrence and the leadership that you give us and have already given us and will give us over the next years.

But this also leads us to some very important questions that we want to get to know you as a person and not just the president of St. Lawrence University. So we're going to give you a little bit of a lightning round of sorts where we're going to ask you some questions, and these are just designed to kind of get to know you and what you're like both on campus and at St. Lawrence and outside of it. So the first thing that we would like to ask you is what do you do to relax?

President Morris:  I'm not always good at relaxing as it turns out. But I would say when I don't have anything else pressing, I either walk my dog or hike with my dog, or I am reading cooking magazines or cooking blogs, or I am cooking. Trying something new and different that I've never tried. So concrete. This past weekend, I had a little bit of time. I took my dog to a waterfall I hadn't been to before. And I did a whole lot of cooking as it turned out. So yeah, that's what I do.

Beth:  I love that.

Megan:  Which takes us to my question. What is your favorite non Saint Lawrence place in the north country?

President Morris:  Oh, non-St. Lawrence place in the north country. Okay. So we've just gotten done talking about food. So I'll tell you two food places, bar none my favorite restaurant is the Blue House, and I go there every week if I'm in town. And I don't really want to tell people this, but if they haven't gone there, they should absolutely go there. And the only reason I don't want to tell you is because then it makes it harder to get a table.

But that place is wonderful, and Alicia and Josh as the owner. Operators are wonderful people. So that's my favorite restaurant. And I'm a big Donnelly's Ice Cream fan, so getting out there is a really special thing. And I don't know about other places. I've been on a lot of different hikes and have liked an awful lot of places. I would say that just from my house being able to do that Saddlemire Kip Trail Loop and back has been something that I've really enjoyed, although that's integrated with the campus, so maybe that doesn't count.

Beth:  Fair enough.

Megan:  Does Comet get his own Donna Lee's cone post hike?

President Morris:  Well, he doesn't get his own cone, but he usually eats at least half of mine.

Beth:  Is that if you're not fast enough, he'll just...

President Morris:  Well, there have been times where I wasn't looking, and he got the whole thing. Yeah.

Beth:  We were talking about places. And so I'll add another question onto this. If you were a student, where would you study or sneak off to for a quiet moment?

President Morris:  Okay. All right. So this is hard to answer because as a student, I always studied in my room and I didn't really study in other places. But if I were a student here, I really like the vibe of ODY. So I suspect I would spend time up on the second floor there. There's really good light, and I like those tree house units up there, so I'd probably go there. I also really like Herring Cole, and I like the fact that it used to be a library. So that seems like a nice and pleasant place just for the history of it and the beauty of it. That's probably something else that I would do. And I would probably do what I do now, which is walk out to the stables and look at the horses.

Beth:  The horses, especially little Gabby, the miniature horses. Always welcoming and so nice to have a little break from campus for sure.

Megan:  Is there anything that you have not done yet on campus that you would like to do this year?

President Morris:  Yes, there are a variety of things I have not done. On campus I would say I only got to go skate on our rink once last year, and it was for about 10 minutes on the last day the ice was in. So I hope I can go do that a little bit more. It has long been a desire of mine to drive a Zamboni for probably 15 years, something I've wanted to do.

So maybe I can try to do that. There's probably risk management reasons that I shouldn't. And can I say off campus things, but North country things that I want to do. I still haven't hiked a high peak. I've done a lot of others, but haven't done a high peak, and I haven't been to Ottawa yet.

Beth:  Oh, definitely go to Ottawa. See now you can skate in Ottawa and you can kind of get the skating and Ottawa visit in at the same time if you go in the winter.

President Morris:  I hope to do that.

Beth:  If you were a first-year student, which first year program would you choose to be in?

President Morris:  Well, I think there's one that has something related to Harry Potter. I think there was some sort of a children's literature option. So I'm a big Harry Potter fan, and I've read each of the books at least three times, and some of them several times more than that. So I probably do that one. There's one about walking and wellbeing that I'd be interested in. And then I don't remember the name of it, but there's something about community and culture in the St. Lawrence Valley that sounds really interesting to me. As someone who's not from this area, that might be one that I would choose also.

Beth:  Excellent. So we have your top three ranks, so now the first year program office can figure out where the best fit would be for you. That's excellent.

Megan:  I feel like that's the hardest choice every St. Lawrence student has to make is what first year program. I would want to choose all of them.

President Morris:  Yeah, there's a lot of great options.

Megan:  There really are. What's your favorite building on campus?

President Morris:  Oh, I think Herring Cole is the prettiest building on campus, but can I choose a second one?

Beth:  Absolutely.

President Morris:  The second building I would choose is the Sullivan Student Center. And that's because... I mean, I like the way it looks in terms of the big open area in there and the way that it's built to look like a ski lodge, but that building is full of students and has just a really good vibe whenever you walk in there.

The vibe is really good with lots of people and lots of activity and people being happy. And in fact, it's one of the reasons I decided to take this job because when I came here to visit, we walked through the Sullivan Student Center, and it was high pandemic time at that point in time, and yet the building was full of students in their small groups kind of separate from each other. And that gave me a sense of what the students are like here, and it made me feel good about the student culture here.

Beth:  Fantastic. And our last question for you is, what are three words that you would choose to describe St. Lawrence?

President Morris:  To describe St. Lawrence or to describe Laurentians? That's kind of a hard one.

Beth:  Okay. Why don't we do Laurentians? I actually like that better.

President Morris:  So, for loon, I would say adventurous, curious, and engaged.

Beth:  I would agree with all of those for sure.

Megan:  I would too.

Beth:  Well, we know that you're incredibly busy serving loon, both on and off campus, and we want to thank you for supporting the various Scarlet & Brown Stories that each Laurentian writes themselves. And so we're excited to finally celebrate you on inauguration weekend, and we thank you so much for joining us today.

President Morris:  Oh, thank you for having me here. It's been a delight.

Megan:  Pleasures all ours. 

Megan:  All right. And that is a wrap on our conversation with President Kate Morris. So hard to say goodbye. Right, Beth, I feel like I could ask another hours’ worth of questions and a lot to digest. I'm really excited to hear about the strategic plan and some of our goals going forward. What were some things that stuck out to you?

Beth:  I learned a lot from our conversation with President Morris, and especially the idea of the Center for the Environment I think is going to be really important, not only to the on campus community, but for so many of our alums who find this to be a passion project and have always been encouraging us to think about the ways in which we can encourage sustainability, both on campus and off as Laurentians.

And I'm really excited to see how this manifests. And also just knowing that we're looking at impact not just a career, but what are the things that our students are going to go on to do once they graduate and make an impact, both on their life and in the life of other people? I think that that's really important for us to be thinking about, and I know our students are too.

Megan:  Absolutely. I'm a strong believer that the world needs Laurentians, and it's exciting to see these new initiatives that are going to give our students the best launchpad possible. I also love, and I've been ruminating on this one for a while, but I love the approach to wellness that focuses on prevention and not just treating problems once they become a crisis. Both for students and for faculty and staff. The fact that we're trying to take this holistic look at how our community can be as healthy as possible, I think is going to pay dividends in the future.

Beth:  I definitely agree. I cannot wait to see all the initiatives come to fruition and see what President Morris has in store for us as a leader for our campus community and our off-campus community. We want to thank her for taking the time to speak with us once again, and next month we will be back with another amazing Laurentian interview.

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 Beth:  Scarlet & Brown Stories is produced and edited by Amanda Brewer, Beth Dixon, Megan Fry Dozier and Dennis Morreale. Our music was written by Christopher Watts, inspired by Eugene Wright, class of 1949. Subscribe to Scarlet & Brown Stories on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcast. Consider leaving us a rating review as well. If you have a story to submit to us, you can email us at

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