BOULDER, Colo. – Dr. John Morton, Vice President Emeritus of Community Colleges of the University of Hawai‘i, was recently appointed by Governor David Ige to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), an interstate compact of Western states and territories that work collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence in the West.
WICHE’s 48 commissioners are appointed by the governors of the 15 Western states and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States. The commissioners are leaders in higher education and include state higher education executive officers, college and university presidents, legislators, business and community leaders, and other key partners.
Dr. Morton will occupy the commission seat previously held by Carol Mon Lee, executive vice president and chief operating officer for ThinkTech Hawai‘i, a nonprofit, digital media platform that raises public awareness of the importance of technology, energy, diversification and globalism to the future of Hawai‘i.
“I’m excited to join the Commission and look forward to working together to promote high-quality higher education, equitable student outcomes, vibrant economies, and strong leadership in Hawai‘i and throughout the West,” stated Dr. Morton.
Morton retired after nearly 49 years with the Hawai‘i community colleges, including 21 years as CEO of Kapi’olani Community College and 14 years as Vice President for Community Colleges. As Vice President, he oversaw the seven-community-college system; led the development of the Hawai‘i Promise scholarship program that offers support to meet all unmet financial need for eligible students; oversaw the development of a unified University of Hawai‘i system student information system; and managed student success initiatives, especially for Native Hawaiian students. He has been active on boards of both local and national organizations. Morton earned a B.S. in chemistry and M.A. in political science from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in communication and information sciences from the University of Hawai‘i–Manoa.
“We’re very grateful for the many contributions and years of service that Carol Mon Lee has provided while on the WICHE Commission, and feel very fortunate to have the wealth of knowledge and experience Commissioner Morton brings,” said WICHE President Demareé Michelau. “I know he’ll be a valuable addition to our board.”
Since 1953, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has been strengthening higher education, workforce development, and behavioral health throughout the region. As an interstate compact, WICHE partners with states, territories, and postsecondary institutions to share knowledge, create resources, and develop innovative solutions that address some of our society’s most pressing needs. From promoting high-quality, affordable postsecondary education to helping states get the most from their technology investments and addressing behavioral health challenges, WICHE improves lives across the West through innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy.
WICHE members include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States (specifically the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam).