Karla Leeper Appointed Chief of Staff

  • News Photo 3524
    Karla Leeper
  • News Photo 3521
    Mike Morrison
May 19, 2006

by Paul Carr, interim vice president for marketing and communications, (254) 710-4693

Baylor University President John M. Lilley announced today the appointment of Dr. Karla Leeper as chief of staff, effective June 1.

Leeper, who currently serves as associate professor and acting chair of the department of communication studies, will succeed Professor Michael D. Morrison, who is returning to teaching duties at Baylor Law School.

"I appreciate Karla's willingness to assist me in this important role," Lilley said. "She brings a high degree of energy, institutional knowledge and experience that will help the president's office run efficiently."

"I look forward to the opportunity to work with administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Board of Regents to serve Baylor," Leeper said. "We all want Baylor to be the finest institution of higher learning it can be. I will miss my regular duties in the communication studies department, but I look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead."

Lilley thanked Morrison for continuing in his role as interim chief of staff through the transition from Interim President William Underwood. Underwood appointed Morrison to the position in June 2005. Lilley became the university's president on Jan. 1.

"Mike's depth of experience has been a tremendous asset to me during the first five months of my presidency," Lilley said. "I appreciate all he has done to assist me in becoming reacquainted with my alma mater. As he returns to the law school, he goes with my sincerest thanks."

"It has been a privilege to serve Baylor in this capacity, even though my assignment as interim chief of staff lasted longer than I had originally planned. I especially appreciate having worked with so many talented and dedicated employees and friends of Baylor," Morrison said. "While I am anxious to return to the law school and the classroom, I want to thank Bill Underwood and John Lilley for the chance to work with them during this important time in Baylor's history. I wish Karla the very best as she begins this new chapter in her service to Baylor."

Leeper earned bachelor's degrees in communication studies and political science at the University of Iowa in 1985. She received a master's degree and then a doctoral degree in rhetoric and argumentation from the University of Kansas in 1993. Her areas of research are political communication, and argumentation and public deliberation.

A member of the Baylor communication studies faculty since 1992, Leeper has served Baylor in several positions, including associate professor and chair of the communication studies department. As director of the award-winning Baylor debate program, she held The Glenn R. Capp Endowed Chair in Forensics. She is a winner of the George Ziegelmueller Award for excellence in directing forensics, the Donn W. Parson Outstanding Young Forensics Educator Award and the National Federation of Interscholastic Speech and Debate Association Service Award.

Leeper has served as president of the American Forensics Association and chair of the National Debate Tournament committee.

She is active in the Waco community, serving as the director of GEAR UP Waco's Project Democracy program and participating as a facilitator in the City of Waco Visioning Project.

For more information, contact Leeper at (254) 710-6919.

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