Ruth P. Morgan was born in Berkeley, Calif., in 1934. Her family moved to Austin, Texas in 1939 when her father joined the University of Texas faculty. Ruth P. Morgan came to Southern Methodist University in 1966 as assistant professor of political science. She taught several courses including the American presidency and modern political thought. Her skills as an academician and pedagogue were recognized by both her colleagues and pupils, and she was twice named SMU’s outstanding professor. Dr. Ruth Morgan was actively involved in improving and developing SMU as an institution. While professor, she served as president of the Faculty Senate.
In 1978 she joined the provost’s office and her talent for managerial and administrative tasks proved priceless. She quickly climbed the ranks in this office. In 1986 she was named interim provost to fill the position left by William B. Stallcup, Jr., and in 1987, SMU’s ninth president, A. Kenneth Pye, made the appointment permanent. Morgan served an efficacious and diligent six years as provost and stepped down from her post in 1993.
During her term as SMU’s chief academic officer, Morgan reached many milestones including:
- Appointment of four deans of degree-granting schools
- Appointment of scholars to 23 endowed professorships
- Awarded tenue to 80 faculty members
- Filled new position of dean of research, graduate studies and information
- New studies programs including: an evening degree program in humanities or social sciences, a joint master’s program in law and applied economics, an enriched and expanded two-year MBA program
In the provost’s office she held a number of positions including chair of a steering committee on self-study and program review. As the university’s first female provost, Dr. Morgan helped update the school’s academic program by increasing requirements for science, language and writing. She also established interdisciplinary programs in international and ethnic studies, as well as doctorate programs in both psychology and physics.
Dr. Morgan retired as provost emeritus and professor emeritus of political science at Southern Methodist University in 1995. Her published works include The President and Civil Rights: Policy-Making by Executive Order, 1987, and Governance by Decree: the Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas, 2004.
Ruth Morgan served on the board of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for a number of years and is remembered is tributes of the Remember the Ladies campaign.
The Ruth P. Morgan papers, circa 1960s-1990s, reflect her activities as a civic leader in the Dallas Summit, the Dallas Forum, Charter 100, and the Hockaday School. These files also include her term as member and chair of SMU’s Shared Governance Board, University Assembly, and other activities at the University.
Contact Samantha Dodd, curator of the Archives of Women of the Southwest for additional information or assistance with accessing these materials. The DeGolyer Library awards the Ruth P. Morgan grants to encourage encourage work in women’s history or political history.
The DeGolyer continues to expand our digitization efforts, adding new content weekly. We have thousands of items digitized and searchable in our digital collections. Be sure to browse our holdings to find more letters, photographs, manuscripts, imprints, art, and audio/video.