Center for Intelligence and Security Studies renamed to honor alumnus


MichaelMorell.jpgThe University of Akron Board of Trustees approved Wednesday the renaming of the University’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies to recognize UA alumnus Michael J. Morell, the distinguished former acting director of the CIA and a media commentator on U.S. intelligence and national security issues.

Now known as the Michael J. Morell Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, the Center is a resource to prepare the security professionals of tomorrow by bringing together students, faculty and security practitioners for training, research and education in the areas of intelligence, national security and cybersecurity.

Morell is a Cuyahoga Falls native who graduated from The University of Akron in 1980 with a degree in economics. He also has a master’s degree in economics from Georgetown University.

Before his retirement, he served for 33 years as a CIA intelligence analyst and a manager of analysts , and a leader in roles that included acting director, deputy director and director for intelligence, a position that oversees all of the CIA’s intelligence analysts.

“I am deeply honored that the University of Akron Board of Trustees today approved the renaming of the current Center for Intelligence and Security Studies the Michael J. Morell Center for Intelligence and Security Studies,” Morell said. “The naming brings me full circle, as the University provided me with a world-class education, preparing me for a career at CIA. It was a professor of economics at The University of Akron who piqued my interest in the CIA, and I am hoping that the naming of the Center, and my involvement in it, will encourage today's and tomorrow's students at the University to be interested in a career public service as well.”

Morell also served as President George H.W. Bush’s personal intelligence briefer during his presidency. Morell retired from CIA in 2013 and has since worked as a senior counselor for Beacon Global Strategies, a firm advising on global political and economic risk environments. He is also a commentator for CBS News and the host of the award-winning podcast called “Intelligence Matters: The Relaunch” that is widely regarded as the best source of information about the issues that currently face U.S. intelligence and national security professionals.

Morell is a member of the Center’s Board. He intends to teach one class per year at the University and will also be available to meet with students to discuss careers in intelligence and national security, as well as deliver talks on global issues of the day. 

"This is a momentous day for the Center, The University of Akron and its students, and I could not be more thrilled” said Dr. Karl Kaltenthaler, the Center’s director, a professor of political science and a fellow in UA’s Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. “Naming the Center to honor Michael Morell makes perfect sense given his extremely important career as an intelligence and national security professional and leader. His work with our students and Center leadership will make it one of the premier places in the U.S. for preparing intelligence and national security professionals to meet the needs of our country."

The Michael J. Morell Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, located in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, engages students and faculty with intelligence and security practitioners, serves as a reservoir of expertise on real world intelligence and security challenges, provides students with guidance on internships and careers in intelligence, national security and cybersecurity, and develops innovative, cross-disciplinary academic programming to train tomorrow’s effective intelligence and security professionals.