Leo E. Morton, chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, announced that he will step down at the end of the 2017-18 academic year. Morton has led the university since December 2008. At that time, he was chair of the university’s board of trustees and agreed to lead the university as interim chancellor until a new leader could be found. But a few months later, the board asked him to take the job on a permanent basis.
Morton had a 40-year career in engineering and manufacturing management before becoming a higher education leader. In 2000, he was named senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Aquila Inc., an electric and gas utility headquartered in Kansas City.
In a letter to the campus community, Morton said “I still have many projects that I want to complete before I retire.” But he noted that the university must undergo significant changes due to a reduction in state funding. He said that “there is no question in my mind that UMKC’s conversion will take several years. And quite frankly, that a time commitment I am not able to make.”
Morton is a graduate of Tuskegee University, a historically Black educational institution in Alabama. He holds a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.