Jesuit Father Michael Morrison, the longest serving president of Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and a major force in its growth, died May 24 in hospice at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, a retirement and health care community. He was 81.
A native of Green Bay, Wisc., Father Morrison was president of Creighton from 1981 to 2000, and he remained a history professor throughout his tenure.
Known for his daily walks and sitting on the wall by St. John’s Church on campus, ready to talk with anyone passing by, he also oversaw construction of 10 new buildings, including the V.J. and Angela Skutt Student Center, the Beirne Research Tower, the Lied Education Center for the Arts and the Cardiac Center.
He established an undergraduate occupational therapy program, as well as the nation’s first doctoral program in physical therapy in 1993, and the country’s first clinical doctoral program in occupational therapy in 1995.
Father Morrison grew the school’s endowment from $16 million in 1984 to more than $200 million as part of a multiyear Creighton 2000 campaign.