He has been called many things--Paul, Mr. Morrison, Grandpa--but to an entire nation of Drake University graduates and staff he's known as one thing: Mr. Drake.
Paul Morrison, now in his 76th year at Drake University, has often described his life-long association the school as a "love affair." Put simply, he was destined to be a Bulldog.
Paul's father, Marion Holbrook Morrison, and mother, Leonta Starzinger Morrison, met on Drake's campus in 1902. Marion helped to start Drake's first history club and was the announcer for the 1919 Drake Relays.
After graduating in 1906 the Morrisons were married in 1910. Their third son, Paul, was born in 1917 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
In 1935 Morrison arrived on the Drake University campus as a student with aspirations of attaining his undergraduate degree before attending medical school. While at Drake, however, he became extremely active in journalism, becoming sports editor of the Times-Delphic as well as the Drake yearbook, the Quax. Morrison also was a member of Chi Delta Fraternity, which is now the current Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter.
Paul Morrison graduated with a degree in journalism in 1939 and briefly returned to his hometown of Cedar Rapids to work for the The Gazette. Like most men of his time, Paul had a war to fight, and was drafted into the U.S. Army, 6th Division.
Morrison was stationed in the Pacific theatre where he took care of his division's newsletter. By the war's end he had attained the rank of Sergeant.
Upon his return from the war he resumed his position with The Gazette before being hired as the first full-time director of the Drake News Bureau on December 15, 1945. He later would serve as the athletics business manager before beginning a lengthy run as sports information director.
Morrison retired from his full-time position with Drake in 1986, and has continued to serve the university by volunteering his time in the athletic department as historian and consultant.
In 1949 Morrison achieved what he might claim as his greatest accomplishment, marrying his wife Pauline Cameron DeWit Morrison. Pauline was secretary to the Dean of Students at Drake when they met. Paul likes to claim "She just kept chasing me until I finally came to my senses and let her catch me."
Although he has an outstanding list of career achievements and awards given to and named after him, Paul still puts family first. He and Pauline had two daughters, Mary and Marian Holbrook (Holly), as well as Paul's step-daughter Jenine DeWit Steele. Each has graduated from Drake, and a total of 14 members of the direct Morrison family have earned degrees from Drake.
Paul Morrison truly exemplifies the spirit of Drake University. For years he took a daily trek from the Bell Center, where he still volunteers after retirement, to Olmsted Center (the student union) to eat lunch around the students. He maintains tremendous relationships with former students and student-athletes, and his friendships are many, far beyond Des Moines. It's difficult to go anywhere in the world of collegiate athletics, be identified as a Drake Bulldog, and not have somebody ask about Paul.
Paul remembers some of his best times at Drake being the successful basketball teams of the late 1960s and the continuing success of the Drake Relays. He also says he does what he does for the interactions with current students.
Although he officially retired from Drake in July, 1986, Paul still volunteers full time as the Drake historian. He keeps Top 10 statistical books for all sports, while maintaining regular communication with past letter winners. If one has a question about Drake sports, Paul is the one to ask. He has more than just the answer, but a razor-sharp recall of particular elements and names that surround the topic.
Morrison was honored in 1997 as the inaugural recipient of the Missouri Valley Conference Meritorious Service Award, now known as presented as the Paul Morrison Award. It is presented annually at the MVC Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
Paul is modest in his reception of the award. "It's a nice honor to be associated with it, but it's not about me. It's about the great history of Drake athletics and the promising future of the programs. Drake student-athletes are outstanding, and there are still many exciting achievements to come. That's what the Hall represents to alumni and visitors alike."
Modesty like this truly identifies Paul Morrison as "Mr. Drake."