Date of Award



History Education

Faculty Advisor

Munson, Susannah, N.


In the 1970s, gone were the days of a rapidly increasing student population and major building projects and gone were the days of an only 3,006 student body. Instead, there was a world-class academic university with an environment rooted in innovation and advancement. The pieces from Delyte Morris’ presidency show a dedication to a very specific vision he had: to create a university that is both supporting of the students and pushing towards advancement. He and C. D. May, the associate architect for the university, supported this idea by buying furnishings that were manufactured in Illinois and sticking to a strict budget. By choosing post-WWII, mid-century modern furniture, the interior design of the university appealed to many of the new students at the school; middle-class suburbanites who wanted sophisticated, clean designs without luxury materials. Herman Miller Inc and Knoll Inc provided a large amount of furniture to the university, much of which is now housed in the Delyte Morris Furniture Collection in the University Museum Archives. Even after the end of his presidency, Delyte Morris’ legacy drew on, in part through the Knoll Inc furniture that was acquired because of its connection to handmade fabric and wooden bases. The pieces in this collection directly mirror the progression of Southern Illinois University, and its dedication to being a campus that is constantly expanding, yet with strong Illinois roots.