President Delyte W. Morris was the SIU System's longest serving president. In September 1948, SIU's Teachers College Board hired Delyte W. Morris to the post. Morris was responsible for transforming the SIU System, adding colleges of Law, Medicine and Dentistry. It was during his tenure that the Southwestern Illinois Residence Office was established. A site in East St. Louis and Shurtleff College in Alton were chosen as centers for the first classes to take place in the region. The former Shurtleff College location still is home to the SIU School of Dental Medicine today.
Delyte W. Morris responded to local initiative that demanded a publich university in Southwestern Illinois.
The Mississippi River Festival, 1969-1980, was initiated by Morris. The MRF flourishedduring an era of great turmoil and changein American society.
In 1960, six divisions were established for the Southwestern Illinois Campus, which included humanities, science, social studies, fine arts, education and business. Also in 1960, a State Universities Bond Issue was passed by Illinois voters to provide funds for building Edwardsville facilities. Morris announced the purchase of land that would be home to the center of the SIUE campus in 1961. It was an exciting time in the University's history. Ground was broken on the core campus in 1963. In 1964, SIUE introduced the opening of its nursing program during Morris's tenure in 1964. In 1965, classes officially began on the Edwardsville campus. The Peck Classroom Building-which later was named Peck Hall-and Lovejoy Library were put into operation that year. A year later, the Science Building was opened and the original two lanes of South University Drive were opened to traffic.
Also during Morris's tenure the Communications Building, today known as Katherine Dunham Hall, was opened. The University Center also was dedicated and named for the late president-the Morris University Center. That year a time capsule was buried in the campus quad, which today is known as the Stratton Quadrangle.