Tom Morrison '63 has undoubtedly set a high standard of what it means to lead by example in the Otterbein community. In 1988, Tom joined the Otterbein board of trustees, and served as chairman of the board of trustees from 2005 to 2013. Tom has also had an impressive career as an attorney, a pioneer in the field of false advertising litigation, and now as a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.
Looking back, Tom said that Otterbein played a major role in helping him to get to where he is today. "Otterbein changed my life," he said.
Perhaps the most life-changing experience Tom had as a student at Otterbein was a chance encounter with Professor Dr. John Laubach, who told him about the prestigious Root-Tilden Scholarship at New York University's School of Law. Tom was awarded the scholarship in 1963 and graduated near the top of his law class from NYU in 1966. Tom credits both Dr. Laubach and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Alan Norris '57, who had also received the scholarship, for directing him toward NYU.
In 2012, Tom established the endowed Thomas C. Morrison Scholarship Fund in Government Service, through estate planning, which will provide scholarships and internship support for undergraduate students who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career in government service. By making a provision in his will, Tom said he was able to make a larger gift to Otterbein and its students, which was meaningful to him.
"This scholarship fund means that I can repay the generosity I received at NYU," he said. "It's very rewarding to know that, by having this scholarship available, students will be able to attend Otterbein."
Tom's wife Sarah said that she has felt connected to Otterbein, not only through Tom's admiration for the institution, but through her own experiences at campus and donor events.
"I've always been so impressed with the students, faculty and people who were so connected to Otterbein," she said.
"There is something extra about Otterbein, and it's amazing how it has been able to maintain that over the years."
Tom said that Otterbein's mission and values are what give Otterbein that something extra.
"The same values that Otterbein was founded on 167 years ago were the same values when I was there, and they are the same values that are still there today," he said.
"If you care about Otterbein's mission and values, you will want to see Otterbein continue to thrive and grow, and to continue adapting to changes in the higher education environment. One way to help maintain Otterbein's mission and values is to support eh school financially. A strong donor base will ensure that Otterbein's mission and values will continue to impact students for another 167 years"