In 2013, the George A. Morgan Dissertation Award was established by George Morgan, professor emeritus from Colorado State University’s School of Education and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and his wife of more than 50 years, Hildegarde Swanson Morgan, to contribute support to graduate student research and creative activity that is part of the student’s Ph.D. dissertation. This award helps doctoral students with the costs of their dissertations, but that is just the tip of the iceberg in Morgan’s career of supporting graduate education.
A man with many hats
Throughout his 40 year career cutting across multiple academic units in the College of Health and Human Sciences, Morgan has mentored nearly 100 graduate students, led various academic and research programs in the college, and traveled countless miles to support research and education at CSU.
The Department of Human Development and Family Studies, the Department of Design and Merchandising, the School of Education, and the School of Social Work have all benefited from Morgan serving in various capacities throughout their graduate level programs.
“I have been able to help faculty and graduate students achieve their personal and professional goals across several departments within the college,” said Morgan. “My role as department head of the Department of Design and Merchandising also included emphasis on recruiting new graduate students, and I was pleased to have helped the number of graduate students in the department more than double.”
Morgan spent the majority of his own research career focusing on the development of children’s mastery motivation, indicated by their persistence and joy in attempting to master challenging problems. A book with his findings on this subject is in the works with co-authors at other universities from Taiwan, Hungary, Kenya, Moldavia, Iran, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other nations. Many of these faculty members at universities around the world have been guided by Morgan over the course of their careers.
Providing support and encouragement
Across the U.S., only about half of students working on their dissertation after leaving campus complete their doctorate. Many of these doctoral students have trouble juggling life, work, and school as they go through their lives and start a family and career after leaving campus. Morgan dedicated a tremendous amount of time to ensuring dissertation students at CSU had support and encouragement throughout the final stage of their educational journey.
“I spent a lot of time going to Chicago and Grand Junction to meet with students,” explained Morgan. He added that the extended time limit on dissertations, ten years at CSU, can make it seem like a task for tomorrow. Some guidance and motivation can make all the difference for a graduate student seeking their doctorate.
The George A. Morgan Dissertation Award is for a student in any of the four departments and schools where Morgan was involved during his CSU career. The recipient should demonstrate strong professional potential with a high quality project proposal that is likely to contribute to his or her respective field of study.
“I’m passionate about supporting both graduate students and younger faculty,” said Morgan. “I’ve met every recipient of the dissertation award over the past decade.”
In addition to Morgan’s planned endowment of the George A. Morgan Dissertation Award, a previous student has established an estate gift that will go to the award fund in his honor.
Morgan is spending his retirement investigating his family genealogy and trying to visit all of the national parks, which is a task he’s accomplished several times throughout his life but that is routinely added to as presidents add new sites. After spending much of his career working to help graduate students, it’s fitting that even this goal proves that his work is never finished.