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Morgan University Center - Joe Morgan


Like the previous University Center, the new University Center carries the namesake of Joe Morgan. 

Who is Joe Morgan, and why is the University Center named after him?

Austin Peay's president for 13 years beginning in 1963, Morgan made many changes to student life while guiding Austin Peay through a time of great unrest across the country. 

"Morgan was here during a period of great transition at Austin Peay and in the state and nation." said Dr. Thomas Winn, professor of history and philosophy.  Winn wrote "A History of Austin Peay from 1806 - 2001" along with Dr. Richard Gildrie, professor of history and philosophy.

Prior to Morgan's presidency, students were required to attend assembly every Wednesday.  However, Morgan ended the assemblies after protests by students. 

There also were restrictive policies concerning women, which prevented them from wearing shorts and required them to sign in and out of residence halls.

All this changed under Morgan.  "It would have under any president (at that time), but Morgan was willing to do it," Winn said.

Morgan also presided over Austin Peay's change from a college to a university in 1966. 

When the original University Center was constructed in 1967, it was known simply as the University Center.  President Dr. Robert Riggs made the decision to name the building after Morgan on the recommendation of local people. 

"Morgan was very well thought of in the state, so I think that's part of the reason it was named after him," Winn said.

Morgan received a bachelor's degree from Murray State University and a master's degree and doctorate from George Peabody College.  Prior to becoming APSU president, Morgan served as Tennessee's Commissioner of Education. He died in 1988.

Used by permission from the All State
By Sarah Reed
Features Editor
Commemorative Edition - March 18, 2002