Constantine W. Curris

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President Constantine W. Curris
Pic for Constantine W. Curris article.jpg
President of
Murray State University
In office
Preceded by Harry Sparks
Succeeded by Kala Stroup
President of the
University of Northern Iowa
In office
Preceded by John Joseph Kamerick
Succeeded by Robert D. Koob
President of
Clemson University
In office
Preceded by Phillip Hunter Prince
Succeeded by James Frazier Barker
President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities
In office
Preceded by James B. Appleberry
Succeeded by Muriel A. Howard
Personal details
Born (1940-11-13) November 13, 1940 (age 76)
Lexington, Kentucky, United States
Spouse(s) Jo Hern Curris
Children Robert Alexander and Elena Diane
Residence Lexington, Kentucky
Alma mater University of Kentucky, University of Illinois
Profession Higher Education Administrator

Constantine W. "Deno" Curris is an American educator who, at 32, became the youngest university president in Kentucky history.[1] He held that office at three universities for a total of 26 years, after which he became president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities an organization of more than 400 colleges and universities. The New York Times said that Curris “is a strong advocate for higher education and its students and a proponent of the qualitative strengthening of public higher education institutions in order to meet public needs and expectations in the 21st century.”[2]

Education and Honors[edit]

Constantine William Curris was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 13, 1940 and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1962 with a B.A. in Political Science. He obtained an M.A. in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Illinois in 1965[3] and an Ed.D. in Higher Education from the University of Kentucky in 1967.[4] He received the Alumni Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Science at the University of Illinois.[5] He is a member of the University of Kentucky Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame,[6] the University of Kentucky College of Education Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Distinguished Alumni on May 19, 2000. [4]

Early career[edit]

Curris began his work in higher education in 1965 as vice president and dean of the faculty at Midway College in Kentucky. In 1968 he became director of academic programs for the West Virginia Board of Education. From 1969 through 1971 he was dean of student personnel programs at Marshall University in West Virginia, and for the following two years was the vice president and dean of the faculty at the West Virginia Institute of Technology.[7]

Middle career[edit]

In 1973, the 32-year-old Curris was selected as the president of Murray State University, a position he held until 1983. During this decade, Murray State moved from being a former teachers college that had acquired the status of a University in 1966 toward being a larger regional university with faculty hired through national search committees, a full range of student and faculty services, and the beginnings of a national reputation. Curris’s tenure there was controversial.[8][9] “After Curris's contract was not continued at Murray State in 1983, he was hired as president of UNI (University of Northern Iowa). That same year, the Murray State University Board of Regents named the school's new student center for Curris.”[7] Curris was president and professor of public policy at the University of Northern Iowa, 1983-1995. During these years, Curris began his active involvement with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). One of the buildings constructed at UNI during Curris’s tenure was subsequently named the Curris Business Building by the Iowa State Board of Regents. [7] From 1995 to 1999, he served as president and professor of public policy of Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. [10]

Later career[edit]

Curris became widely known as a leader in American higher education; he was a featured participant in a 1997 national video teleconference on “The New Public University: How Do We Compete in a Changing Environment?” Curris was named president of AASCU in 1999 and served until 2008. David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities said of Curris: "He brings a broad and sophisticated grasp of the issues, and a highly refined judgment about the national political environment. "[3] He has also been an occasional contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education, including articles about the public purposes of public colleges, in support of a unit-record system of collecting student data, and about getting college students to the polls. [10]

Boards and commissions[edit]

Other professional experiences for Curris include appointments to the 1998 Commission on the Future of the South, the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities, the Education Commission of the States, the Iowa Board of Economic Development, the South Carolina Research Authority, The Sigma Chi Foundation, and the chairmanships of American Humanics and the Iowa Task Force on Teacher Education and Certification.[2]


Since his retirement from AASCU in 2008 Curris has been a consultant in academic searches and is currently with AGB Search.[11] In 2009 he was appointed to the Murray State University Board of Regents and now serves as chairman of that body.[12]

Curris is married to Jo Hern Curris, a tax attorney. They live in Lexington, Kentucky and are the parents of two adult children: Robert Alexander and Elena Diane.[2]


  1. ^ Kentucky New Era, June 21, 1983, pg5
  2. ^ a b c "Biography of Constantine Curris". 2003-09-22. Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  3. ^ a b "Dr. Constantine Curris". Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  4. ^ a b "Constantine W. Curris". Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  5. ^ "Award Recipients " Award Programs " Alumni Association " Alumni & Friends " College of Liberal Arts & Sciences " University of Illinois". Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  6. ^ "Alumni Hall of Fame & Scholarship Recognition". Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  7. ^ a b c "Constantine William Curris". 1998-03-18. Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Powell, Bill, (Feb. 18, 1981) “President Curris of Murray …”, Louisville Courier Journal, Page 1.
  10. ^ a b "President of State-Colleges Association, Constantine W. Curris, to Retire - Government - The Chronicle of Higher Education". 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  11. ^ Constantine Curris | AGB Search
  12. ^ "Board of Regents". Murray State University.