American Electric Power honors its CEO, EMU graduate and regent Michael Morris, with $1.5 million gift to Eastern

Donation to fund endowed chair in College of Education

by Geoff Larcom, Published August 08, 2011

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Regent Michael Morris

The American Electric Power Foundation has donated $1.5 million to Eastern Michigan University to fund an endowed chair in the College of Education. The gift honors Michael Morris, a two-time graduate of EMU who serves on the University's board of regents.

Morris is retiring from American Electric Power (AEP) in November after serving as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company since January 1, 2004. Morris will remain chairman of the company's board of directors through 2013. The Michael G. Morris Endowed Chair honors Morris' contributions to the company, to the community and to higher education.

 Morris has deep ties to EMU. He graduated from Eastern with bachelors and master's degrees in biology, and served as an ROTC brigade commander during his graduate school years. Morris later served as an EMU regent from 1997-2004. He is currently serving a new term through 2018.

"I am extremely grateful for this gift to Eastern Michigan, and excited about how it will benefit faculty and students," Morris said. "Eastern cares greatly about good teaching, and this gift underscores my belief in EMU and its educational mission."

The chair will be awarded to a faculty member or visiting faculty member in the College of Education, with recipients to be selected by the dean of the COE. Funds from the endowment will be used to support research, teaching, service activities, salary, travel and other pursuits that benefit students or University constituents.

"We are delighted to receive this gift, and pleased that it recognizes Mike's extensive and exceptional leadership in the field of energy and on behalf of the University," said Eastern Michigan University President Sue Martin.

Before joining AEP, Morris was chairman, president and CEO of Northeast Utilities System from 1997 to 2003. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Consumers Energy, a principal subsidiary of CMS Energy; and president of CMS Marketing, Services and Trading. He received a law degree from the Detroit College of Law and is a member of the Michigan Bar Association.

With the gift, EMU's comprehensive fundraising campaign stands at more than $48 million. The campaign, which kicked off its public phase in April 2010, seeks to raise more than $50 million for scholarships, academic programs, faculty, facilities and endowments. The broad outreach effort, largest in EMU's history, is called "Invest. Inspire. The Campaign for Eastern Michigan University."

American Electric Power ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, serving areas in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The company's headquarters are located in Columbus, Ohio.

For more information on the endowed chair and how to donate, email Jill Hunsberger, Chief Development Officer of the EMU Foundation, at



Geoff Larcom


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