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MorrisonsThomas C. ’63 and Sarah K. Morrison 

Thomas C. Morrison ’63 was an attorney with specialization in commercial litigation, with an emphasis in advertising, trademark, and unfair competition litigation. 
Over the course of his extensive career, Morrison was recognized as one of the country’s premier litigators, successfully representing major pharmaceutical and consumer product corporations in a variety of cases, resulting in significant jury verdicts and landmark appellate decisions. 

Born Sept. 25, 1941, in Columbus, OH, Morrison came to Otterbein to study social studies. His family legacy at Otterbein includes his father, Wilbur H. Morrison ’34; sister, Diane Morrison Stanley ’76; an aunt; two uncles; and a few cousins all Otterbein graduates. He was an active student, with membership in Lambda Gamma Epsilon fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, Torch and Key, Debate Team, the Otterbein band and choir, and the Young Republicans Club, which he served as president. 
At the advice of his political science professor, John Laubach H’85, Morrison applied for and received the prestigious Root-Tilden Scholarship at New York University Law School and earned his degree in 1966. Morrison then served a four-year ROTC commission as an attorney in the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, which convinced him to specialize in litigation. 

Morrison practiced in New York City firms for 45 years and was a partner for 40 of those years featuring partners with distinguished records of public service. They included secretary of state, two attorneys-general, several Federal District Court judges, one Federal Court of Appeals judge, under-secretary of war for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and secretary of war for President Harry S. Truman — all mentors who helped influence Morrison’s high regard for the importance of public service and leadership.

In 1988, Morrison was invited to serve on the Otterbein Board of Trustees and served in various capacities before becoming chair in 2005. During his tenure, he oversaw the expansion and renovation of the Science Center, the building of the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science, and the purchase of two properties west of Alum Creek. In addition, Morrison was board chair and headed the search committee that hired President Kathy Krendl, the 20th president of Otterbein. In 2013, he received the Otterbein Distinguished Alumnus Award, and was honored with trustee emeritus status in recognition of his service to the board. 

Since his retirement, Morrison has served on the board of Music Mountain, the nation’s oldest Chamber Music Festival; is a member of the executive committee of the board of regents of The Fund for American Studies; and was recently elected chair of the his local Republican Town Committee. Morrison is also finishing work on a comic novel, TORTS R US, a farcical look at lawyers and lawsuits.

Tom Morrison met Sarah Koester in New York City at a Mostly Mozart concert and they were married in 1987. Sarah grew up in Kansas City and graduated from Northwestern University in 1969 with a degree in art history.  She moved to New York City and worked for a year with Art News magazine before joining the Wall Street investment bank, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where she worked for 12 years, serving as a vice president in the venture capital division. Sarah is active in several non-profit organizations, including The Salisbury (CT) Association; New Pond Farm in Redding, CT, an educational and environmental farm; and the Koester House Museum and Gardens, a historical home built by her great-grandfather in Marysville, KS.  She has authored five books on the history of the Koester family and the town, the most recent being Memoirs of the Charles F. Koester House, An Intimate Portrait. Together, the Morrisons have one son, Charles. In addition, Tom has two sons, Michael and Matthew, from a previous marriage and three grandchildren.

Longtime Otterbein FUND donors, the Morrisons have generously supported four major campus renewal projects: renovation of Towers Hall and Cowan Hall, the construction of Roush Hall and Clements Recreation Center, and expansion of the Science Center. They have also established planned gifts to create future endowments in speech and in music, along with a full-tuition scholarship for students interested in U.S. government service.

It is with deep appreciation for their philanthropy and leadership in the service of Otterbein University that we honor Thomas C. ’63 and Sarah K. Morrison with the 2018 Mary B. Thomas Commitment to Otterbein Award.

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