Donald Morrison’s Generosity Lives On
When Governors State University student T’Kayla Clayton reflects on the academic journey that will culminate in a Bachelor of Arts Business Administration this spring, she thinks of people like Donald Morrison, a local businessman and longtime supporter of Governors State students.
In the late ‘90s, he established the Donald and Helen Morrison Scholarship in Business. Each year, the scholarship awards $1,000 each to multiple students who express an interest in a career involving an entrepreneurial role in business or industry with preference given to students interested in retail business.
Morrison also established the Wilbur L. Morrison Endowed Scholarship in memory of his brother in the late ‘90s. The scholarship also awards multiple students $1,000, with the only stipulation being the students be pursuing a degree in business.
Since 2018, a collective 30 scholarships have been awarded from the Morrisons' scholarships (a total of $175,000 since inception) to students like Clayton.
Morrison recently passed on his 98th birthday and Clayton is grateful she had the opportunity to thank him in person.
“My degree completion depended on the generosity of the Donald Morrisons of the world. Meeting him was both a joy and honor, the gift of education he gave me is priceless,” Clayton said.
Adding to his lasting impact on the GSU community, Morrison continues to fund the scholarship through his estate. In life, he was impressed by the work Governors State students put into obtaining their degrees.
“I am glad that I can help students to achieve a college degree,” Morrison said decades earlier. “They work hard and it’s good to know the scholarship can assist them in reaching their goal, and succeeding in life.”
Morrison’s own path to education was complex. On his third day at Iowa University studying to be a doctor, Morrison was drafted into WWII. After returning from war, he worked with his older brother, Wilbur in the family’s furniture business. The brothers worked together for nearly a half century, first at Morrison’s Furniture in Harvey, and then establishing Morrison’s Ethan Allen Furniture, in Olympia Fields. They later opened a second store in Orland Park.
Success, Donald Morrison said, is “working for a solid company at a solid job that you enjoy every day.” As a successful businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist, he helped others succeed. He was active in the Lions Club and YMCA. Both Morrison brothers were active benefactors of the Glenwood School for Boys and Girls. The Morrisons helped provide more than $20,000 in furniture to the Jennifer Fallick Cancer Support Center in Homewood, and furnished the Cancer Support Center branch in Mokena.
Dean of the College of Business Jun Zhao notes the importance of the scholarships to COB students.
“The Helen and Donald Morrison Endowed Scholarship and the Wilbur Morrison Endowed Scholarship are two major scholarships offered to GSU’s business students. Many COB students have benefited and continue to benefit from the generosity of Mr. Morrison and his family,” said Dr. Zhao.
“Mr. Morrison leaves behind a wonderful legacy that will impact generations to come, as education is the force that change our lives and our society for the better.”
Spring 2021 scholarship applications are being accepted now. The deadline to apply for scholarships, like Morrison’s, is Dec. 14.