Accomplished graduate named 2017 commencement speaker

Dr. Maries (Schuessler) '79 Morris, Hesston College's 2017 commencement speaker

An accomplished leader in higher education and nursing, and a ’79 Hesston College graduate, Dr. Marie S. Morris, will deliver both the nursing pinning and commencement address during Commencement Weekend, May 13 and 14.

Nursing pinning will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 13, at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus. The 2017 pinning will recognize the first class of BSN graduates after the college added the program in 2015, and also marks the 50th year of Hesston College nursing. Commencement ceremonies will be at 9 a.m., Sunday, May 14, in Yost Center.

Dr. Morris has been in cabinet-level higher education leadership for 17 years. She currently serves as provost at Anderson (Ind.) University. Her executive leadership responsibilities include institutional strategic planning and effectiveness, oversight of all academic programs and supervision of academic support services. She formerly served nine years as Vice President and Undergraduate Dean at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.).

Dr. Morris is a student-centered leader ensuring that all units of an institution remain mindful that their core purpose is educating students. For the last 12 years Dr. Morris has served as a resource leader for leadership development institutes. She served as an accreditation evaluator for the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and currently serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

Along with her dedication to higher education she makes a point to serve in the community. She previously served as a board member for Indiana Campus Compact, and she is chair of the Quality of Care Committee of Community Hospital Anderson, where she also serves as the executive committee of the board. She is also a member of the Hesston College Board of Directors, beginning her term of service in 2013.

Dr. Morris earned a Ph.D. in nursing administration from George Mason University (Fairfax, Va.), a master’s degree from the University of Virginia (Charlottesville), a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University and an associate degree from Hesston College.

Other events honoring students and their achievements will take place during Commencement Weekend. The Disaster Management Program will honor graduating students at an 8:30 a.m. recognition, May 13, in the Campus Worship Center in the lower level of Keim Center. Aviation and Air Traffic Control graduates will be recognized during a 2:30 p.m. reception, May 13, in the Hesston Mennonite Church Community Center.

Commencement Weekend schedule