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SHECP Appoints Brett Morash Executive Director

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

“Having devoted my life to helping people rise above adversity and working in and around higher education the mission simply called to me. I can think of no other organization that bridges academic excellence and rigor with experiential learning to prepare the next generation of leaders in the poverty space than SHECP,” says Morash, who assumes his new duties 15 January.

Lexington, VA — Brett Morash will assume the position of Executive Director on January 15, 2018. Morash, a retired naval officer, comes to SHECP from a position as Director of Operations and Finance at the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a non-profit based in New York. The Woodruff Foundation supports programs throughout the U.S. to ensure that veterans returning with injuries have ample opportunity to thrive. A Consortium search committee nominated Brett Morash after an extensive recruitment and interviewing process assisted by Freeman Philanthropic Services, Inc., a New York-based firm. The nomination was unanimously approved by the SHECP Governing Board. Harlan Beckley, the current Executive Director, observes that Brett has already been at work transitioning to his new responsibilities.

Prior to his work at the Woodruff Foundation, Morash served from 2013-15 as Vice President of Veterans Services at Services for the UnderServed (SUS), also a New York non-profit. Under his leadership, SUS focused on veterans living in poverty, with special emphasis on employment, homelessness, and mental and physical health. Before joining SUS, Morash served 20 years in the Navy. His final tour was on the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. While in the Navy, he worked in the NROTC Unit at the College of the Holy Cross where he taught Naval Science courses. His worldwide postings included a stint in East Africa where he was a Branch Chief for international security in the Horn of Africa and a temporary assignment at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Morash has combined work in education with his recent administrative duties. In 2015, he received a Ph.D. in the Humanities from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island and has taught courses as varied as economic studies, cultural competence, and religion as a visitor at the University of Norwich in Vermont since 2012. Brett has also published and presented many papers. His CV is posted on line here.

Brett lives with his wife Alene and two children Julia and Henry in New Rochelle, New York. He will remain in constant communication and consultation with Stephanie Rolph, Consortium Academic Director at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and with Amy DeHart and Alana Abbott, the SHECP Intern Director and Director of Development, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Brett Morash has received praise from the Co-chairs of the Search Committee and the Chair of the SHCECP Governing Board.

Larry Connolly, Search Co-Chair, and also a member of the Governing Board, notes: “We are delighted to have Brett join the SHECP team and look forward to his leadership in bringing SHECP to the next level.  He has large shoes to fill but we are confident that he is up to the task.  His background and enthusiasm for our mission suit him and the Consortium well for the challenges ahead.  We look forward to helping Brett any way we can during the transition.”

Jay Barth, from Hendrix College and Search Co-Chair and past Governing Board Chair, writes: “I appreciate the members of the search committee providing hours upon hours of their time to being certain that SHECP identified the right leader to fulfill the organization’s strategic plan and to further SHECP’s work to transform the lives of students and to reshape the role of higher education institutions in tackling systemic poverty.  It’s clear that Brett is the right leader for this crucial time in SHECP’s development as an organization.”

Rebecca Todd Peters, current SHECP Chair from Elon University, who spent several hours talking with Brett before his appointment, reports: “The Governing Board is looking forward to working with Brett on moving SHECP into a new phase of development as we work together to strengthen our program and work toward transforming undergraduate poverty studies. We are confident that he brings a depth of experience, knowledge, and expertise will help us not only reach but exceed our strategic goals for the Consortium.”

Harlan Beckley is enthusiastic about the appointment of Brett to succeed him.  Beckley, comments: “I am complimented that a person with Brett’s qualifications has been appointed to succeed me as the first Executive Director of SHECP.  I am confident that his leadership will enable SHECP to far surpass what we have to achieve in our first few years.”

Brett Morash credits his previous appointment with helping him understand the importance of work and sound policy that meet needs and expand opportunities for our fellow citizen.  He observes: “Like many veterans I wanted to continue to serve after leaving the service. In the nearly five years since I made that transition I have learned that complex problems require holistic solutions. Individual needs are wide and varied and are intertwined in such a way that only an organization such as SHECP can impact them across the board.  It is for this reason that I am so passionate about the potential that SHECP has to play in making system wide change by creating an army of people who work to make the world a better place.”

The Bob Woodruff Foundation will miss Brett but is pleased that he will be moving on to this new challenge. Anne Marie Dougherty, Executive Director at the Foundation, said, “Brett helped lead the Bob Woodruff Foundation through a period of sustained growth, while ensuring fiscal responsibility and transparency. His proven leadership experience, coupled with his post-service academic work, will serve him well in his new endeavor.”

Brett Morash is also eager to assume this new professional challenge.  He writes: “I am truly excited and humbled to be joining such a diverse and exciting team at SHECP.  A wise friend told me one time “find a mission not a job” and that is why I am joining SHECP.  Having devoted my life to helping people rise above adversity and working in and around higher education the mission simply called to me. I can think of no other organization that bridges academic excellence and rigor with experiential learning to prepare the next generation of leaders in the poverty space than SHECP.  It occupies a unique place that harnesses the passion and desire of students to make a difference and prepare themselves for the future with an eye toward making a lasting and pragmatic change for the better.”

The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP), a nonprofit promoting poverty studies programs in undergraduate and professional schools, supports a collaborative summer internship integrated with course-work and community engagement opportunities during the academic year. 

SHECP Members:  Baylor University, Berea College, Birmingham Southern College, Bucknell University, Centre College, Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine, College of Wooster, Elon University, Furman University, Hendrix College, John Carroll University, Juniata College, Furman University, Lynchburg College, Manchester University, Middlebury College, Millsaps College, Niagara University, Ohio University, St. Thomas University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Notre Dame, University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin, Virginia Military Institute, and Washington and Lee University.



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