Karen Morrison, former National Collegiate Athletic Association director of inclusion, has traveled all over the world from Botswana to Mongolia to South America, seeking cultures that challenge her own views.
The Arkansas native believes that diversity enriches all of us.
Morrison brings that attitude to the University of Central Florida today as new chief diversity officer. Morrison said President John C. Hitt’s similar beliefs and goal of increasing diversity throughout the university is what drew her away from the NCAA and to Central Florida.
Her first order of business: get to know the campus community and help the many groups that work in the area of diversity accomplish more as partners.
“I want to help them get their voice out,” Morrison said. “There are a lot of places on campus that work with diversity, but I am not sure that they communicate with each other. I want to be their ally.”
Morrison is no stranger to diversity work. Since 2006, she worked with the NCAA as the director of gender equity and educational services. She later became the director of inclusion. In that role she worked with the 1,100 schools across the country that are members of the association and promoted the importance of inclusion advancement.
Aside from her involvement in national and international projects such as the U.S. State Department’s global mentoring program for female sports leaders around the world, Morrison is a founding member of the national LGBT Sports Coalition and has affiliations with the National Association of Higher Education Diversity Officers.
Her work earned her kudos and national recognition including being named one of Pride Magazine’s 12 game changers for national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy in sports and the winner of the Alliance of Women Coaches Title IX Advocate Award in 2012.
Before joining the NCAA, Morrison was an assistant basketball coach and campus administrator at the University of Colorado Boulder. For 16 years she helped develop policy and plans to ensure minority and gender inclusion in team sports. She also served on the athletics’ department senior management team for diversity and gender equity and chaired the student-athlete welfare committee.
Morrison attended the University of Oklahoma, where she played basketball and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She went on to earn a juris doctorate degree from the Notre Dame Law School.
“I am excited to be a part of the UCF community and ready to get to work,” Morrison said.