Lake Superior State University CFO Morrie Walworth Announces Upcoming Retirement
Morrie Walworth, vice president for finance and operations at Lake Superior State University, has announced his retirement effective Aug. 1, 2021. Holding numerous academic and administrative positions at LSSU over an illustrious 30-year career, he has been chief financial officer since January 2016. A search is underway to fill the position.
“I’ve been fortunate to wear many hats at LSSU: professor, department chair, associate dean, dean, provost, and, ultimately, CFO,” said Walworth. “I’m grateful for the variety of opportunities to further, as our strategic plan puts it, student learning and development; diversity, inclusion, and belonging; community partnerships and engagement; sustainability; and fiscal resilience and operational excellence.”
As CFO, Walworth oversees the Business Office, Purchasing, Facilities Management Services, Information Technology, Institutional Research, and the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at LSSU. He has played key leadership roles in two new campus buildings: serving as project manager for the completion of the state-of-the-art $13.5 million Considine Hall, which houses the Lukenda School of Business, in 2017; and teaming with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to oversee construction of the cutting-edge $14 million Richard and Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education (CFRE) facility scheduled to open in August.
Walworth also has improved LSSU’s finances in several ways. For instance, in 2018, in concert with Johnson Controls and LSSU’s Facilities Management Services, he spearheaded a $23.6 million Energy Performance Contract that resulted in the implementation of many energy-saving initiatives (HVAC, water, lighting) as well as the installation of keyless entry and security/safety systems. Walworth additionally helped secure a $1 million grant and a $1 million loan from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy for the CFRE project.
Earning electrical engineering degrees from Michigan Technological University (BSEE, 1981; MSEE, 1983) and spending five years early in his career as an electrical engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in CA, he came to LSSU in 1991 as a faculty member in the Automated Manufacturing Engineering Technology Program. Walworth subsequently developed an Electrical Engineering Program and chaired the newly formed department. He went on to develop a Computer Engineering Program and, when it merged with electrical engineering, to chair that department as well. As a faculty member, Walworth helped secure $2 million in grants while coauthoring 19 conference presentations, three journal publications, two white papers, and six student-coauthored publications. In 2005, he was appointed interim dean and in 2006 dean of the School of Engineering and Technology, serving until 2008.
Subsequent roles included Associate Dean: College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics & Director: Intellectual Property & Economic Development; and then Dean: College of Engineering, Technology, and Economic Development & Director: Intellectual Property & Economic Development. In these capacities, he helped secure $2.5 million in grants for different purposes.
In 2010, Walworth became provost. He led the reaccreditation effort for LSSU in 2011 and the subsequent switch to a new accreditation model (Pathways) introduced by the Higher Learning Commission. As provost, Walworth oversaw approximately 115 faculty, 50 adjuncts, five deans, an associate provost, the LSSU Charter School Office, four Regional Centers, Information Technology and Audio Visual Services, the Library, Institutional Research, Grants and Contracts, the Learning Center, Academic Testing, International Education, and Study Abroad.
“It’s been my honor to collaborate with internal and external partners to move LSSU forward while being a good steward at the same time,” said Walworth. “Engineers like to solve problems and invent solutions, and I’d like to think that I’ll be leaving LSSU better off than when I arrived due to the many colleagues I was fortunate to join forces with.”
Walworth also serves as treasurer of the LSSU Board of Trustees, treasurer of the LSSU Foundation Board of Directors, treasurer of the LSSU Campus Housing Corporation, chair of the Michigan Association of State Universities Business Affairs Officers, member of the Sault Ste. Marie Local Development Finance Authority, member of the MERIT Board of Directors, and numerous other committees.
“Morrie Walworth devoted the bulk of his career to LSSU to wonderful and wide-ranging effect. The breadth of his experience is as impressive as the depth of his impact,” said LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley. “LSSU is on sounder ground, especially regarding finances, but also in reference to our footprint and our academics, because of his acumen. He has been a Laker diehard and a Renaissance man whose reach has been appreciated and will be missed. We wish him well on his next chapter in life.”
In retirement, Walworth hopes to re-engage in various outdoor activities, fishing, and woodworking, and to continue online harmonica lessons. He also intends to spend more time with his wife, six children, and 18 grandchildren.