University Advancement

Office of Planned Giving
John Dodge House
507 Golf View
Rochester, MI 48309-4488

(248) 370-3698
Fax (248) 370-6141


Donald and Csilla Morse

Oakland University is a second home to the Morse Family.

Donald Morse is a retired professor who taught at OU for more than 30 years in the departments of English and Rhetoric, Communications, and Journalism. His wife, Csilla Bertha, was a visiting scholar at OU in 1989-90. Both of Morse's sons, Sean and Chris, attended OU. Sean graduated with an English major and Chris attended briefly as a declared philosophy major before going on to culinary college.

Chris graduated from culinary college and became a talented chef. However, his life was tragically cut short nearly ten years ago. The Morse family is honoring the memory of Chris by establishing a permanent memorial at Oakland University, the Chef Christopher Morse Award Fund.

"To lose a child of whatever age is a terrible experience," says Donald. "It would be far worse, however, to forget that child. Therefore, a memorial and especially a living memorial for the benefit of current and future Oakland University students keeps both Chris' name and his vocation visible in a small but important way. This award also affirms our belief in the value of education—especially the value of higher education—while also testifying to our hope in a future that rests with future OU students."

The endowed fund will support scholarly activities for students majoring in philosophy including student travel, summer internship opportunities, and merit-based awards. The endowment is funded by distributions from Donald's individual retirement account (IRA). Also, as a retiree, Donald's participation in the All University Fund Drive made the gift eligible for the 2019 President's Endowment Match.

Mark Rigstad, associate professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy, says the Morses’ generous gift will provide students with valuable opportunities to enhance their education. "We are grateful to Donald and Csilla for providing our students with outstanding opportunities within and beyond the classroom," says Rigstad. "This fund will support undergraduate philosophy students presenting research at conferences, serving as apprentice college instructors, and participating in the intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition, among other things."

The Morse family remembers Chris as having a considerable intellectual curiosity, calling him the model of a life-ong learner. They hope their gift will inspire a love of learning in OU students.

"Beyond specific skills acquired through doing scholarship, we hope students will also realize the importance of establishing facts irrespective of ideology; gain a respect for initiative, invention, imagination, and the hard work involved in conducting research and the effort needed for scholarship; develop an awareness of the scholarly community at and beyond Oakland University; and experience a broadening and deepening perspective on problems and people," says Donald.


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