Tuskegee alumnus, former president of Alabama A&M Morrison dies


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (August 2, 2011) — Richard Morrison, former president of Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University alumnus, died July 30. Morrison is credited with ensuring that funding is granted to the 1890 land grant institutions, including Tuskegee University. His name is on the building that houses Tuskegee’s Cooperative Extension Program (Morrison-Mayberry Hall).

Morrison was revered as an exemplary educator and legendary advocate for 1890 land grant institutions of higher education. That devotion found its genesis in his hometown of Utica, Miss., where he developed a love for agriculture and its potential for bringing about economic freedom. After meeting his mentor, famed botanist/inventor George Washington Carver, Morrison enrolled at Tuskegee University and graduated in 1931.

While on staff at Alabama A&M, Morrison was granted leave to complete his master’s degree from Cornell University in 1941 and later his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University in 1954.

Morrison, who died at 103 years old, assumed the presidential post at Alabama A&M on March 1, 1962, and served until 1984. He was the fifth president of the university. Alabama A&M and Tuskegee publications note that a physical plant and 15 new undergraduate programs were added to the university’s curriculum, along with 11 master’s degree programs. He monitored the construction of more than a dozen new buildings.

Morrison’s efforts led to U.S. President Jimmy Carter signing into law the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977. The historic act secured permanent funding to the 1890 land-grant institutions recognized for their contributions to agriculture and American prosperity.

Morrison authored two books, “The History of Alabama A&M University” and the autobiographical “Walking in the Wilderness.”

Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday at noon at Union Hill Primitive Church, 2115 Winchester Road NW, Huntsville, AL 35810. Nelms Memorial Funeral Home (2501 Carmichael Ave. NW, Huntsville, AL 35816) is in charge of arrangements.

© 2012 Tuskegee University

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