Paying tribute

By University Advancement September 16, 2016


The William & Mary Alumni Association has named its Alumni Service Awards in honor of one of the university’s most devoted and loyal alumni, Douglas N. Morton ’62. Morton passed away in July, after many years of serving his alma mater with great distinction and generosity.

The new name of the awards — the Douglas N. Morton ’62 Alumni Service Award and the Douglas N. Morton Young Alumni Services Award — was announced at the Alumni Association’s annual fall awards ceremony on Sept. 15. During the ceremony, Morton’s wife, Marilyn Brown HON ’07, recognized and bestowed five recipients with the awards named after her late husband.

“Doug is what every school most wants — a really devoted, faithful, caring, generous alumnus,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. “William & Mary is going to miss him enormously and will cherish his memory.”

The Douglas N. Morton ’62 Alumni Service Award and the Douglas N. Morton ’62 Young Alumni Service Award are given annually to recognize individuals for their exceptional service to the Alumni Association and the university through their involvement in alumni chapters, clubs and constituent alumni organizations. The Douglas N. Morton ’62 Young Alumni Service Award is specific to individuals ages 25 to 35.

“We’re always looking for someone to lead the way, and Doug was always willing to do so,” says A. Marshall Acuff Jr. ’62, L.H.D. ’07, who served as rector of William & Mary from 1996-99 and was a former president of the Alumni Association. “The renaming of the Alumni Service Awards is a huge honor for Doug, and also for Marilyn. We couldn’t find a better example of leadership from a philanthropic standpoint and from a caring standpoint. From his involvement and work ethic, Doug epitomized all of that.” 

Morton served as both a trustee and emeritus trustee of the College of William & Mary Foundation, and on the national committees of two W&M fundraising campaigns. Morton also served on the Athletics Educational Foundation, the Fund for William & Mary Board of Directors and his 25th Reunion Committee. He was a William & Mary Alumni Association board member and chair of the President’s Council for more than a decade.

“Doug’s personality is as interesting as his intellect is — he’s a very sharp fellow, a very funny man when you get to know him real well,” says Kenneth Kambis, professor of kinesiology and health sciences. “And I think he’s probably the most generous person I’ve ever met in my entire life.”

Morton valued faculty and students — both undergraduate and graduate — and understood the importance of their research collaboration. To that end, he and Marilyn created a fellowship, a professorship and several research endowments. Morton was passionate about the care and maintenance of William & Mary’s campus and quality of its facilities and personally invested in them to ensure their proper stewardship, including funding the installation of lights in Zable Stadium. He and Marilyn were also instrumental in providing support for the restoration for the President’s House and the Wren Building. In 1995, Morton was awarded the Alumni Medallion, and in 2014 he and Marilyn served as Grand Marshals for the Homecoming Parade.

“The renaming of the Alumni Service Awards is a fitting tribute to Doug,” said Marilyn Ward Midyette ’75, executive director of the William & Mary Alumni Association. “He and his wife, Marilyn, have worked hard to advance this university, and we will always be grateful for their commitment. This is a wonderful way to celebrate Doug’s life and recognize others who share the Morton family’s ideal of helping others.”

Morton’s wife, Marilyn, is also a loyal friend of the College. She is a former member of the Swem Board of Directors and served alongside Doug as Grand Marshal during the 2014 Homecoming Parade. Doug’s daughter, Christine Morton DeMier, also graduated from William & Mary in 1990. To learn more about Marilyn and Doug’s commitment to the university, please view this video that was shown at yesterday’s awards ceremony.

“Doug left his mark on so many areas across William & Mary. He was a quintessential volunteer leader who served alma mater with great distinction in a myriad of ways for more than 30 years,” said Matthew Lambert ’99, vice president for university advancement. “Doug and Marilyn have been extraordinary stewards of the university. It is a great privilege for us to be able to honor their generosity and service to alma mater in this way.”

The 2016 recipients of the Douglas N. Morton ’62 Alumni Service Award are:

Betty Ann Lasley ’61

Betty has been instrumental in establishing the Dallas Fort Worth Alumni Chapter effectively over the last two years and has been one of the most active members. She is head of the social committee and has gone above and beyond the call of duty. This year she single-handedly organized the chapter’s annual Yule Log ceremony, which included a silent auction that was extremely successful in raising sufficient funds for two scholarships in support of local students. 

Barbara L. Ramsey ’75

Barb has immersed herself in Williamsburg alumni engagement opportunities. She serves as vice president of the Williamsburg Alumni Chapter, and has been a member of Athletic’s Lord Botetourt Affair Committee for the last 10 years. Barb has also co-chaired the alumni auction three times including the highly successful 25th anniversary event, and will be co-chairing the auction again this coming February for the fourth time. During her time as co-chair, the auction has seen record numbers for attendance and has become so successful and popular that it sells out in 24 hours. As a member of the Annual Giving Board and as a member of her many class reunion committees, Ramsey has been a significant contributor in leading fundraising efforts on behalf of William & Mary.

Carolyn H. Chrisman ’78

Carolyn has sought out many opportunities to serve her alma mater and share her Tribe pride with others. As a member of the Mason School of Business Partners Board, Chrisman shared her insights gained from working in the healthcare industry with ‪tomorrow’s business leaders. She has been a key addition to the Board of the Roanoke Chapter of the W&M Alumni Association, helping the chapter revamp programming to better support the university and its mission. Chrisman has also been an active and supportive member of the W&M Parent Family Council, providing support to both students and parents.

Kirsten A. Shiroma ’05

Kirsten currently serves as a class ambassador and was one of the first people to sign up for the program in 2015. Class ambassadors are alumni who volunteer to stay connected and update classmates throughout the years and assist with the College’s Annual Fund drive. As co-chair of the Class of 2005 10-year reunion committee this past year, Shiroma had a significant impact on fostering class members’ participation and philanthropic support of William & Mary. Her service was also seen in the number of classmates she recruited as fellow committee members for their class gift.  Previously, Shiroma also served four years as president of the Greater Metro Washington, D.C. Alumni Chapter. During her first year as president, the group received the Most Outstanding Chapter Award.

Ashley E. Slaff ’08

Ashley has been actively involved in the activities of the Alumni Association since her graduation. She served on the Young Guarde Council as secretary, vice chair and chair, then joined the founding board of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. She served as president of the chapter when the group was awarded Most Outstanding Chapter in 2015. She has worked to strengthen the mission, vision and values of the chapter and to develop a plan for the chapter’s continued growth. In February of this year, Ashley was elected chair of the Chapter Presidents Council, and represents chapters across the country on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.