Championship opportunities lost for student-athletes was the immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Millersville Athletics. But off the field of play, as many business and individuals throughout the community struggled to adapt and survive, Millersville Athletics faced a stark financial outlook. Camps and clinics, facility rentals and ticketing–significant sources of fundraising for student-athlete scholarships–suddenly disappeared. Still, Millersville committed to honoring student-athlete scholarships. Help came from Lois Morgan ’54.
Morgan, who in 2018 established The Morgan Scholarship Fund for Women’s Athletics with the largest endowed gift in Millersville Athletics history, recently committed an additional $500,000 to fund The Morgan Fund for Athletic Scholarships, which will support all intercollegiate athletic programs.
“Unprecedented times call for extraordinary people,” said Millersville University Director of Athletics Miles Gallagher. “Lois is nothing short of an amazing person and stepped up in a big way during a time when we needed help.”
Morgan’s gift is crucial to keeping Millersville Athletics’ scholarships funded during a time when coaches and staff are handicapped in their fundraising efforts. In the prior year, Millersville Athletics raised over $2 million to aid in the funding of scholarships and operations, but without gifts like Morgan’s, matching that total for 2021-22 will be unattainable. While the 2020 spring was cut short and the fall season was moved to the spring semester, Millersville continues payment of student-athlete scholarships. To make that happen, Millersville needs its alumni and generous supporters.
“We’ve all been watching what’s been going on in the counties and the state about how they would get together and have classes. The sports were also going to take a hit,” said Morgan. “I felt so bad for the students who were depending on scholarships to play that sport and help them through school. When I was told me how many students were involved, it struck my heart to know they would be hurting if they didn’t have help.”
Morgan remembers what it was like to work for an education. As a student at Millersville, she worked 28 hours a week in the newspaper office to pay her costs–an accomplishment that still makes her proud. She looks at student-athletes, who dedicate themselves to competition while sometimes also working part-time jobs to fund their education and sympathizes. She also knows the value of athletics. Her late husband, Milton, was a Little League coach and umpire for more than 20 years, and all four of her children played a variety of sports including swimming, wrestling, basketball and baseball.
“It is a feather in their cap if they can do it,” said Morgan. “Sports has always been a part of my life, and I’ve seen the values that it can teach. That’s why it’s important for me to make this gift. You can learn time management and motivation. If you want something done you ask a busy person, and sports helps develop those qualities.”
“She’s a role model for other Black & Gold Members to follow,” said Gallagher. “She believes in our vision for Millersville Athletics to provide a championship experience for our student-athletes. She sees first-hand the impact her giving makes on our ability to recruit and retain outstanding young men and women who excel both academically and athletically.”
Morgan is now a member of the Fiat Lux Society, a distinction newly established by Millersville University President Dr. Daniel Wubah to recognize individuals who have contributed $1 million to the University.
“During these difficult times, benefactors like Lois Morgan show us the best of humanity,” said Wubah. “Mrs. Morgan is among our most generous donors at Millersville and a lady who always has our students best interests and needs at the heart of her giving. She has the foresight to see how her investment will impact our student-athletes now and in the future.”
Despite Morgan’s generosity, the work to continue funding student-athletes’ scholarships in the midst of a pandemic is ongoing as on-campus camps and clinics remain on hold and the University takes significant hits from housing and enrollment. Morgan encourages alumni to remember their times at Millersville, how they were helped, and respond in turn.
“I think (alumni) need to stop and think about the advantages Millersville gave to them,” said Morgan. “Kids today are striving for an education, and they need that to keep the society going… I applaud Millersville for what their trying to do for the students. If the kids hang in there, they’ll be able to do what they set out to accomplish.”
Those interested in adding to The Morgan Fund for Athletic Scholarships, renewing their own support of a specific program, or giving to the unrestricted Championship Fund can click here.