Texas A&M University announced late Thursday that an Alabama professor with a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin will take over its law school in downtown Fort Worth.
His appointment is following a unanimous recommendation by A&M Chancellor John Sharp, interim President Mark Hussey and Karan Watson, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
Morriss competed in a national search that yielded 60 candidates.
Morriss has a bachelor’s of arts from Princeton University, a master’s in public affairs from the University of Texas, a juris doctor degree from UT, and a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
His wife, Carol, is a graduate of Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
“Carol and I are thrilled to get to be part of the team at Texas A&M,” Morriss said in a prepared statement. “This is a unique opportunity in American legal education, combining the excellent faculty, staff and students at the law school with one of America’s premier research universities.”
Morriss’ appointment follows the service of interim dean Aric Short, who led the school’s transition since last summer. The A&M System purchased the law school from Texas Wesleyan in August.
In a separate action taken by regents Thursday, Sharp received the authority to provide the A&M law school with $5 million from the Available University Fund. The money comes from the Permanent University Fund that provides money to UT and A&M.
The university will provide up to $20 million over the next five years on a dollar-for-dollar basis, matched with funds raised privately.
Regent Tony Buzbee also recently donated $1 million to the school to create a dean endowment, which Morriss will receive.
Buzbee urged other Aggie alumni to donate to the law school, too.
Morriss is known for his work in regulatory issues involving energy, the environment and offshore financial centers.