Morgan State Selects First Woman in University History to Oversee Athletic Operations

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Morgan State University President David K. Wilson today announced the appointment of Dena Freeman-Patton as the new vice president and director for intercollegiate athletics, overseeing the Athletics Department and Intramural sports and activities. The appointment follows a comprehensive and competitive national search led by higher education placement firm Renaissance Search and Consulting in conjunction with an internal search committee. With her selection, Freeman-Patton became the first woman in Morgan’s 155-year history hired to lead its athletic operations. She will assume her new role effective June 1, 2022.

“Given the stability of our athletics operations, the impressive academic standing of our student-athletes and the positive competitive trajectory of our sports teams, this was a very attractive leadership position to fill, drawing interest from across the country,” said President Wilson. “Among those expressing a high interest, Dena Freeman-Patton was the most impressive, offering a wealth of experience and the requisite leadership capabilities to oversee a rising D1 athletic program. We welcome Dena to the Morgan team and look forward to her taking the reins and advancing our athletic programs to even greater heights. In her, we have the right person for the job.”

Over the past five years, Morgan’s Athletics Department has experienced a transformation that has made it a model for success within the NCAA. During this period, the collective GPA for student-athletes rose to 3.41, the graduation rate increased by 19% and the department successfully emerged from a challenging NCAA probation process that ended on Dec. 18, 2021. Athletics also added two new programs that will assist in attracting students: wrestling, and acrobatics and tumbling

As an administrator and executive in intercollegiate athletics, Freeman-Patton brings nearly 25 years of experience. She comes to Morgan from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), where she most recently served as associate vice president and director of Athletics, overseeing 10 sports, and managing more than 50 personnel, including staff and coaches. Before her time at CSUDH, she served as deputy athletics director and chief operating officer for the University of New Orleans, deputy athletics director at California State University, Bakersfield, associate athletic director at Georgia State University and associate director of Academics and Career Development at the University of Maryland, College Park.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Freeman-Patton was a three-sport athlete at Lake Clifton High. She also lettered as a Division I student-athlete in basketball at Liberty University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 1996. She later received a master’s in sports administration from Georgia State University, in 1999.

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