Bill Morgan, family honored with Colorado State University Founders Day Medal Feb. 11

On the heels of last year’s celebration of the 150-year legacy of the Morrill Land-Grant Act, Colorado State University will celebrate Founders Day with a focus on the next 50 years.

On Monday, Feb. 11, the university will honor former CSU President William E. Morgan and his family with the Founders Day Medal. Morgan, who was born in 1909, became Colorado A&M’s eighth president in 1949, and managed the transition from Colorado A&M, an agriculture and engineering school, to Colorado State University, now composed of eight colleges. During his tenure, Morgan oversaw a 15-fold expansion of the Fort Collins campus, including athletic facilities, an engineering center, chemistry annex, plant and animal sciences buildings, additions to the student center, faculty apartments, several residence hall and Eddy Hall. Morgan also played a key role in obtaining funds for a new library building, named in his honor when it opened in 1965.

In 1969, Morgan retired as president of CSU, and was awarded the distinction of President Emeritus by CSU’s governing board, then the State Board of Agriculture. The William Morgan Chair in the College of Liberal Arts and William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award also were named in his honor. Additionally, the William E. Morgan Society recognizes the generosity of donors who have supported the university with cumulative gifts of $100,000 to $999,999, or qualifying planned gifts.

Morgan’s wife, Lilla Morgan, worked alongside him throughout his tenure, and he always credited her with much of his success as president. Lilla also was influential in the Fort Collins community, supporting the fine arts, symphonies and theater performances. Lilla founded the original Fort Collins book club and led the charge to raise funds for the Lincoln Center, now the city’s premier performing arts venue.

The Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Endowment, founded by her friends and family, provides funding to support CSU projects in the fields of art, music, humanities, literature and the performing arts. The Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Scholarship also is awarded each year to an undergraduate student who demonstrates good academic standing and is active in campus-community service.

“President and Mrs. Morgan did as much to advance Colorado State University as anyone in CSU’s long history,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “Together, they shepherded Colorado State into a full-fledged university capable of responding to the challenges of their age and beyond. Their shared belief in the value of a well-rounded education – and their unparalleled commitment to our community – are legendary. Our University and our city are indebted to the Morgans for their leadership, vision, and the platform they built for sustained excellence and achievement.”

Founders Day events

On Monday, Feb. 11, CSU will honor the creation of the institution, the values that have sustained it, and its mission of service through teaching, research and engagement with a Founders Day celebration. Events will occur at both the state capitol and on campus.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are invited to join CAM the Ram and the CSU cheerleaders on the plaza of the main campus for CSU’s birthday celebration. The celebration begins at 1:43 p.m. in honor of the 143 years CSU has been in existence. Birthday cupcakes and T-shirts will be available while supplies last.

For a kid-friendly celebration, CSU students, faculty, staff and alumni can bring the family to CAM’s Birthday Party from 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 9 at Monkey Bizness, 9950 E. Easter Ave., Suite 200, in Centennial. Help CAM the Ram blow out the candles on another year at this free CSU Alumni Day. Pizza, cupcakes, games, bounce castles and other activities will be available. For more details or to register for CAM’s birthday party, visit