by Ralph C. Bedell
And brotherhood ever exceeding our practice,
We covenant together as we share
The strength of our fellowship
And the heritage of our Fraternity
In unending quest for true brotherhood,
As exemplified by Wilson C. Morris.
In 1980, Executive Director Bill Bernier proposed that a recognition be established in the Sigma Tau Gamma Foundation, Inc. for those who contributed $1,000 or more. He suggested that the recognition be named in honor of our original faculty sponsor, Dr. Wilson C. Morris, because the donors would be carrying on the tradition of sponsorship he began. The Foundation Trustees approved this proposal together with a design for a medallion to serve as the symbol of this recognition. Subsequently, then president-elect Keith Dinsmore sent a letter to select alumni inviting them to become Wilson C. Morris Fellows. One alumnus responded, Marvin M. Millsap, Alpha '26.
Bill Bernier visited Brother Millsap in his Forsyth, Missouri home and invited him to participate in the 29th Grand Chapter to be held in August 1980, in Kansas City, Missouri. He asked Marvin to speak to a select group of alumni invited to participate in the first Wilson C. Morris Fellow Breakfast. Even though he was recovering from the recent loss of his wife and debilitating injuries from an automobile accident, Brother Millsap agreed to do so.
In his Saturday morning breakfast address, Brother Millsap explained that he was raised on a humble Missouri farm. Aspiring to great accomplishment, he pursued an education. While at Central Missouri State Teachers College in Warrensburg, he joined Sigma Tau Gamma because he thought it would help him to establish what his mother called "back-stay," the background of an honorable gentleman. In Sigma Tau Gamma he found not only "back-stay," but also lasting friendship. Legendary brothers Bill Byler, Ralph Bedell, Reynolds Achauer and Jim Kirkpatrick helped comprise that circle of friends. Brothers, he said, I have received so much from Sigma Tau Gamma, and to those who have caught, there comes an obligation to pitch. I simply decided it was my turn to pitch.
Then president W.P."Buzz" Barlow was inspired by Brother Millsap's remarks. Not wanting to limit the audience to the few alumni at breakfast, he asked Marvin to speak to the Fraternity's House of Delegates. Later, Millsap said "looking into that sea of youthful faces from campuses across the nation, I decided that here is a place where I can do some real good." And, he did.
Soon after the Grand Chapter, with inspiration from Millsap, the Sigma Tau Gamma Foundation, Inc. launched a successful One Million Dollar capital campaign called Project PITCH.
Millsap thought that the Wilson C. Morris Fellow designation should be more than an honor, it should be a commitment. He said it should be a "society of the individuals willing to do whatever is necessary, whenever necessary" to advance the cause of Sigma Tau Gamma. Thus he is regarded as the founder of the Wilson C. Morris Fellowship.
Early Fellows Dr. K. Dale Atterberry, who was our first president, and Dr. Ralph C. Bedell, who wrote the covenant, helped Brother Millsap form the Wilson C. Morris Fellowship we now treasure.
Cumulative Donor Levels
Wilson C. Morris Fellow - WCMF
$1,000 gift over not more than 4 years
Wilson C. Morris Fellowship Medallion and Shingle
Notable Morris Fellow - NMF
WCMF with $2,500 or more in cumulative gifts
10K gold lapel pin
Prominent Morris Fellow - PMF
WCMF with $5,000 or more in cumulative gifts
10K gold lapel pin with one sapphire point
Celebrated Morris Fellow - CMF
WCMF with $7,500 or more in cumulative gifts
10K gold lapel pin with two sapphire points
Eminent Morris Fellow - EMF
WCMF with $10,000 or more in cumulative gifts
10K gold lapel pin with three sapphire points
Illustrious Morris Fellow - IMF
WCMF with $15,000 or more in cumulative gifts
10K gold lapel pin with two sapphire points and a diamond point
Distinguished Morris Fellow - DMF
WCMF with $25,000 or more in cumulative gifts
10K gold lapel pin with three diamond points
Undergraduate Collegiate Sustaining Member
An undergraduate member of the Fraternity may also become a Wilson C. Morris Collegiate Sustaining Member (CSM) by making a $1,000 pledge to the Foundation and an immediate payment of $100 toward that pledge. The balance of the pledge may be paid in installments following graduation. At the completion of the pledge, the individual will become a member of the Wilson C. Morris Fellowship.
Many graduates think of the WCMF only in terms of a money raising organization. While, of necessity, this must be one of the activities of the Association, it is only one of many.
Primarily an association of alumni is just that: an association. We want to maintain contact with our Fraternity and with those we got to know as a student. We take pride in our Fraternity and want to continue our identification with it. Through the associations, we maintain this identification; we follow the lives of our brothers; network with brothers from other chapters and keep the recognition within the Fraternity.
Remember that the WCMF exists to serve you, but in order to be successful, we need your participation. If you are not already a member of the William C. Morris Fellowship, join today; it only takes a few minutes of your time.