Hundreds gathered into Union Hill Primitive Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., Wednesday, August 3, to pay tribute to Dr. Richard David Morrison, Alabama A&M University’s fifth president (1962-84), a man who some believe the facilitator of a golden age on “The Hill.”
Not only did the 12 noon funeral program pay honor to the 103-year-old educator and administrator, it also served as a reunion, as numerous alumni, retired and former AAMU staffers and faculty members returned to pay their respects to the man and the undeniable campus aura he inspired.
Thirty minutes prior to the 1 p.m. ceremony, AAMU alumni gathered at the rear of the massive sanctuary were trading stories about the days they had shared with Morrison. “You are looking at the last of the great presidents,” said a male Morrison
alumnus in his mid-60s. Another quickly responded: “He was a rare example of a truly great leader who was also beautiful on the inside.”
By 10 minutes before the start of the program, the number of attendees had begun to swell with more past administrators, elected officials, former and current AAMU employees, and out-of-towners, as well as representatives from Tuskegee University, Morrison’s beloved Alma Mater.
Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison recalled Morrison’s firm, serious and unrelenting demeanor when it came to securing funding for the institutions he loved. “He had uncommon skill, integrity and grace,” commented Harrison.
AAMU alumnus, supporter and long-time Huntsville Councilman Richard Showers, Sr., invited Mayor Tommy Battle to join in the presentation of a resolution in tribute to Morrison.
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