Photo by Cassandra Bauer
BY MOLLY ADAMSON
Paul Morrison still spends a lot of his time at Drake even though he graduated back in 1939. He’s attended more than 700 Drake Football games and is now often found in the Bell Center helping out the athletic department.
To celebrate Morrison and his upcoming 100th birthday, Drake Athletics and the library partnered to create an exhibit honoring him and the history of football at Drake University.
The exhibit is located in the Collier Heritage Room on the second floor of the library.
This idea took shape because Drake Athletics had been storing artifacts in Drake’s fieldhouse. The fieldhouse is not a climate controlled room though, so there was concern about the artifacts being damaged.
Thus the athletic department had a meeting last March to discuss what should be done. Soon after, the library contacted them about a possible exhibit.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect according to Dave Haskin, Drake’s associate athletic director for external affairs.
“I’m a former college athlete myself, so I was very interested in seeing what material they had and if they’d be interested in bringing it over to the library,” said Hope Grebner, the political papers archivist at Cowles Library.
Morrison has played an important role at Drake, and he feels honored to be acknowledged in this way.
“It’s a real honor, there’s no question about that,” Morrison said. “It’s good to have it so that other generations can know about our history.”
Each month, Drake University Archives and Special Collections plans on placing something different from Drake’s history in the exhibit. In September, it was an old football helmet.
“One reason we had this made up was: one to preserve our history, and two to tell our story,” Haskin said. “We want to honor Paul and properly make sure that history is placed in a place where the public can have access to it.”
This school year has been branded as the “Year of the Fan” by Drake Athletics in honor of Morrison’s 100th birthday, coming up this summer.
Student-athletes are hand-delivering season passes to fans. Fans are also being invited to watch the athletes practice. Haskin says there will be more exciting opportunities to come.
“It’s a way to give back and say thank you to Paul and anyone else who supports not just Drake, but the community,” Haskin said. “It all goes back to Paul’s principles and his character. It’s been a unique way to say thank you and show gratitude to Paul and all that he’s done here at Drake.”
Football is just the beginning for this exhibit though. As the year goes on, more sports will be featured, including some that are no longer on campus such as baseball and wrestling.
The potential goes beyond sports though. Haskin discussed the opportunities other programs, such as the School of Education or the Law School, could have with the library.
“Maybe this will open up other doors for others on campus who have similar interests,” Haskin said. “But athletics is a good way to show how valuable the staff over at the library is.”
As for Morrison, he’s just happy to be supporting the college he loves.
“I have no hobbies and no vices,” Morrison said. “All I have is Drake University.”