Interim Provost Robin W. Morgan will become the University of Delaware’s 11th provost 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 May 21.
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.
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.
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, 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 post-doctoral 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 studied how Marek’s disease virus 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 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 Phibro Animal Health Excellence in Poultry Research Award.
Morgan and her husband, Jim Damewood, have two children, Audrey and James.