A president by the numbers

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As a college student, President Joseph (Jay) Morgan never had aspirations of becoming the 14th president of MSU. He was never a man focused solely on titles. He was much more calculating … quite literally.

“I was actually kind of contemplating going into banking. When I went to school, I kind of had banking on my mind,” Morgan said. “I liked numbers.”

Since our current president is such a numbers guy – and has plenty of numbers on his brain as he takes on the challenges of being MSU’s chief executive – we thought we would let MSU alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students get to know more about him in a way he would appreciate.

  • Number of parents that are teachers: 1
  • Number of college degrees earned: 3 
    Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from
    Murray State University and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University
  • Sports he’s coached: 1
    Golf at Martin-Westview High School in Martin, Tennessee, where he was also a teacher
  • Number of years in higher education:
    More than 20
  • Number of positions he’s held in higher education prior to becoming MSU president: 9
    Professor, graduate program coordinator, special projects coordinator, leadership program coordinator, university faculty regent, associate provost, and provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Murray State University; chief academic officer and vice president for Academic Affairs and Student Success for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
  • Number of countries he’s visited: 16
    Dr. Morgan traveled to Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, China and many other countries setting up international programs.
  • Family: Amber, Britteny, Ella and Mason
  • Number of days between his first day on the job as MSU president and birth of his third child: 17
    Dr. Morgan started the job on July 1, 2017. His son, Mason, was born a few weeks later. “It was a tough month for us,” he said.
  • Amount of time it took him to feel a part of Morehead State: 2-3 months
    “I really got to know the faculty and the staff and the students and the alumni. You start making friends with people, you start eating dinner with people, you start sitting in meetings with people and you really get a feel for who the people are. You get a feel for their fondness for the institution and your fondness really grows out of that.”
  • Time he usually wakes up each day: 2 a.m. 
    “Usually, it’s either with an idea or, I’ve got to do that tomorrow. I just wake up in the middle of the night. Yeah, I’ve always done that,” he said. “It’s thinking about, what are we doing to fix some of the issues here. Part of it is a commitment to the institution to get us through these tough times.”
  • Dr. Morgan’s feeling toward MSU students:
    #1 priority
    “Really, we’re here for the students and that’s always what has driven me since day one when I entered the classroom,” he said. “At the end of the day, I try to think about what is best for our students and that may kind of be the lifelong educator in me.”
  • What does he think freshman enrollment will be this fall: 1,300 new entering students
  • What dollar value does he place on the service that Morehead State does for the region and Kentucky: Priceless