Anyone associated with Drake University knows Paul Morrison — Mr. Drake, as he is also known — is an institution at the school. And now, his dedication and decades of service to Drake are physically immortalized: Forest Avenue between 31st and 25th Streets was named Paul F. Morrison Way on Feb. 22
Several city and university officials were present to commemorate the day. Des Moines Mayor Franklin Cownie also honored Morrison with a key to the city.
“Paul Morrison, and his life’s work, has served as a bridge between Drake’s Athletics Department and the general campus community for more than 65 years,” says Sandy Hatfield Clubb, Drake athletic director. “It is fitting that his name will forever connect the two with the naming of Paul F. Morrison Way. Paul is a true treasure to all of us.”
Morrison, who is 95 years old, grew up with Drake. His parents met there and Morrison was raised hearing about and visiting campus. He graduated from Drake in 1939 and returned to start his position as director of the News Bureau on Dec. 15, 1945. During his time in that position, Morrison met his own wife, Pauline, on campus. Over the years, he served as sports information director and athletics business manager. He officially retired in 1986.
But retirement couldn’t keep Morrison away. He’s worked every day since in the Bell Center as a volunteer athletics historian. Morrison has served on the Relays executive committee since 1946. He has been honored at Drake by having a room in the Bell Center and a scholarship fund for journalism student athletes named after him. Morrison is also honored annually at the national convention of the College Sports Information Directors of America, of which he is the oldest member. In 1996, he received a Drake chair in recognition of his 50 years of service to the school.
“It was a big surprise,” Morrison says of the street naming. “I’ve had a lot of surprises in my life and this is definitely one of the best ever.”