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Western Oregon University: Celebrating 150 years
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   Selected Emeritus Alumni/Faculty writings from events and memories that occurred at Western Oregon University

My Two Loves

by Jack Morton

President Leonard Rice called me into his office one day when I was registrar and asked if I would consider replacing Art Glogau, Dean of Men. I thought it over for about 10 seconds and said I would only if I had the title Dean of Students. Leonard at first objected to this change but I told him the title would send a message to the faculty—the same level as the Dean of Faculty. Leonard agreed—by the way, I loved that gentleman.

My first decision, and it was hard for me to do, was to remove the incumbents. I informed Charles Paeth and Mary Champion that Leonard had told me to be free to select my own associate deans—neither was pleased to be replaced.

I had given a great deal of thought on this and chose Judy Osborne, then in the Psych department. Judy had earned her doctorate in her early twenties and was a sought-after prof by the students. Blake Moranville had just finished his MS at OCE and had earned distinction as a Naval pilot in WWII. Both were popular, bright, reliable and knew the students. They did most of the work.

I inherited an excellent staff: John Brinegar directed financial aids; Myrna Johnson, his assistant, was bright, knowledgeable, and knew the students. Bill Venema was my choice as head student counselor and Joel Newman was his assistant. Etta Mae Detering headed health services; she was assisted by a physician, and we also had a psychiatrist on call.

The hardest part of my job was to deal with death, not only of students but of parents. I had to call two sets of parents, one because a young man fell from the top of a dormitory under construction, the second when a young man died of natural causes.

Judy’s responsibility was student residence halls; I kept student conduct committee—I didn’t want anyone else to be known as the bad guy. Blake advised off campus students and our few foreign students. Judy, Blake, Bill and I played in the student’s intramural basketball league—we never won a game. Thinking of Judy and Blake, one winter we were asked to participate in the All Campus Sing. Among the words we sang to the tune of a Christmas Carol were “We three Deans of OCE are, on the campus we spread terror afar.” We were not invited back the next year.

During the 70’s the Chancellor asked me to serve on the system’s student personnel committee. That same decade I was elected vice president and then president of the Pacific Northwest College Student Personnel Association composed of smaller colleges in Oregon and Washington.

Almeda Cutsforth, my secretary and savior, and I had a set of signals: When she called me Jack on our intercom everything was fine. If she called me Mr. Morton there was a minor problem. When she called me Dean Morton we had a serious problem.

One of my early requests of Judy and Blake was that the three of us walk through the campus every day—particularly when classes were changing. I wanted students and faculty to know that we were there and on the job.

There was one element I didn’t care for in my job. It was the early morning phone calls we would get at my home over the weekend. They were always from males who had been arrested—nearly always for under-age drinking. My usual response was to tell the student to stay where he was—none got the joke—and that I would come and get him. Most often I only had to go to Dallas but once to Salem and once to Oregon City. I made it a habit when I got them released not to talk to them on the way back to the campus other than to tell them to meet me at 8:00 AM Monday morning in my office so I could explain how pleased I was to have such a nice trip. The word soon got out around and Mary and I had fewer interruptions.

Our children, Bev and Greg, adjusted well to the OCE community. Bev received her Bachelors from the college.

As I wrote earlier, I chose to handle student conduct myself. I didn’t want Judy or Blake to bear that responsibility. Most of the student offenses those years were either for drinking on campus or academic dishonesty. Nearly all were one time problems not repeated and the student was placed on probation. If the student repeated he was suspended.

I only expelled one student during my tenure. One morning two coeds who lived off campus reported to me that their roommate had been attacked the night before. To verify the story I called the coed in and she told me she had been raped and an arm was broken. I had Almeda call the student and tell him that he was to come immediately to my office. Almeda was told when he arrived she was to leave the Cottage front door open.

When the offender arrived I asked him if the story was true. He said it was and tried to explain but I was so angry I grabbed him by the arms, turned him around and ran him out of the office and told him never to come back to the campus. Almeda hugged me.

By 1980 I felt I had done enough at OCE. I had attained full retirement and I was looking forward to moving with Mary to Black Butte Ranch. A number of friends sponsored a dinner for us at the Marion Hotel—the speakers rightfully roasted me. Mary and I were thrilled to receive a number of presents.

I thoroughly enjoyed my years at OCE but was ready to change my academic robe for a carpenter’s apron and help build our new home.

Looking back I realize how much Mary’s involvement with Faculty Women’s organization and her love helped me during my career.