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2022 brings multiple milestones for 98-year-old alumna 

Betty MorrisonHomecoming is a special time for many Morehead State alumni. The annual celebration allows them to reflect on how MSU made a difference in the trajectory of their life. For Bessie "Betty" Morrison, Oct. 20 will be a special day. She will celebrate her 98th birthday and commemorate 50 years since college graduation.  

Born in 1924, Morrison grew up in Columbia, Kentucky. She met her husband, the late Dr. Tom Morrison, while he was attending nearby Lindsey Wilson College. The couple married when Betty was only 16 years old. Betty's mother and father blessed the marriage with only one stipulation, that Betty continue her education.  

After Tom's graduation from Lindsey Wilson with a two-year degree and Betty's graduation from high school, the couple was soon faced with the harsh realities facing many young couples during the early 1940s. Tom was drafted to serve in World War II and Betty had to go to work.  

Upon Tom's discharge from the U.S. Army, the couple moved to Bowling Green so Tom could pursue his bachelor's degree. And then, they went to Lexington so Tom could continue his education with a master's degree. Throughout this time, Betty served as the primary provider for their family. The couple had two children during this time as well.  

Once Tom finished his master's degree, the family moved to Connecticut. Tom worked at the University of Connecticut in the agriculture extension field. Their next move was to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Tom earned his doctoral degree.  

From there, the couple found their way back to their home state of Kentucky and landed in Morehead. Tom began teaching as a professor of economics in 1969. It was then that Betty was able to focus on her education. Starting college as a non-traditional student in her 40s was daunting at first, but once she started classes, she found a love for learning. She went on to complete her bachelor's degree and two master's degrees at MSU. It was during the pursuit of her bachelor's degree that she began working in the Camden-Carroll Library for Dr. Jack Ellis, then director of the library. She went on to become an acquisitions librarian, a position she held for almost two decades.  

During a recent interview, Morrison reflected on their time at MSU. "Morehead was a special place. From the moment we arrived, we felt at home. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. It was truly a wonderful place to learn and work. I feel blessed to have received my education at MSU. Beyond that, working in the library under the direction of Dr. Ellis provided me with a very rewarding career." 

Morrison visited MSU's campus in 2019. During this time, she visited the memorial brick walk in the heart of campus. A brick bearing the name of her late husband, Dr. Thomas Morrison, honors his career at MSU. He retired in 1986 as the chair of the Department of Economics and passed away on Oct. 20, 2017.   

In honor of their time at MSU and the University's centennial celebration, Mrs. Morrison recently donated to support student scholarships.  

"I was fortunate to be able to receive my education thanks to scholarships," said Morrison. "I hope my donation will help current students." 

As MSU celebrates 100 years on Oct. 20, Morrison will celebrate 98 years of life, and she will also reflect on how her life was enriched thanks to the educational opportunities provided by MSU 50 years ago.  

The MSU Alumni Association encourages all Class of 1972 50-year reunion celebrants to share their stories. A series of alumni highlights will continue throughout the centennial celebration. To learn more, visit, email or call 606-783-2033

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