BY PHONG LY
For sports enthusiasts and fans of Drake University, Paul Morrison, or Mr. Drake, is not an unfamiliar name nor an unfamiliar face. He has been to over 700 Drake football games and held court at almost 80 Drake Relays races.
Including the years he attended Drake, he has devoted 74 years of his life to the school as a student, a sports information director and athletics business manager, and later on as a volunteer athletics historian.
In the spirit of his recent 100th birthday, here are some facts about this loyal and dedicated alumnus, according to a Drake University press release.
His parents are also Drake alumni
Morrison’s parents, Marion and Leonta, met at Drake in 1902. Morrison enrolled himself in 1935. A total of 14 people in Morrison’s family have attended Drake. This includes him, his daughter Holly Morrison-Dierks and his granddaughter Abby Dierks.
He worked for the Times-Delphic
During his time as a college student, he was the sports editor for The Times-Delphic before he graduated in 1939. He was also a member of Chi Delta fraternity. That fraternity is now known as Sigma Phi Epsilon.
He was in the army during World War II
Right after earning his journalism degree in 1939, he was called into military service in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he briefly worked as a reporter for The Cedar Rapids Gazette before getting a job as the first full-time director of the news bureau. He also served as a ticket manager, a sports information director and athletic business manager before retiring in 1986.
He was back at Drake the day after his retirement
Literally one day after he retired, Morrison came back to work as a full-time volunteer athletics historian. As long as health permits, he shows up and puts in the work. He has been assembling newspaper clippings, photos, yearbooks, footage of games and even physical artifacts of decades of bulldog athletics achievements. Some items, like a trophy from the 1900 track and field team and a program from a 1900 football game, even precede him.
“We make history everyday but do a poor job recording it,” Morrison said.
Morrison’s love for Drake is undeniable. President Martin of Drake University called Morrison “a treasure” and “an inspiration.” Morrison thought that Drake was a great place and said he would not have stayed that long if he had not enjoyed it so much.
“My family ties at Drake go back a long time,” Morrison said.
For his 100th birthday, the university held a party for Morrison at The Shivers Basketball Practice Facility Courtside Club on July 22. Morrison asked that in lieu of bringing gifts, people consider making a donation to the Paul Morrison Excellence Fund.
Contributions to the fund are intended to help provide a better athletics experience for Drake bulldogs and support initiatives like the Paul F. Morrison Collection.
On the Drake alumni website, a lot of people wrote him birthday wishes for the milestone.
“Happy birthday! You are the true man of Drake, and I always love getting to see your bright smile at sporting events or even just in passing through the hall sometimes,” said Paige Prien, a current student.
Haley Morris, a student athlete, also congratulated Morrison for reaching the 100th milestone.
“Happy 100th Birthday! Thanks for your support of Drake Athletics! We appreciate your commitment to the program and love seeing you on campus and on the sidelines,” Morris said.
Morrison said he was glad he could still be healthy at this age.
“I have been really lucky in this world, and I hope to continue to be lucky,” Morrison said.