Percy Morrison’s official title was superintendent of maintenance and grounds. His wife, Betty, was the college’s first switchboard operator.
According to Betty Morrison, it was clear that if Percy Morrison was involved in something, there would be an interesting story to be told about it. The story of how the Morrisons came to MVNC is no exception.
Percy and Betty were residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and knew Dr. Stephen W. Nease from Eastern Nazarene College and later petitioned him to be the speaker at their church’s dedication in Irwin. The plan to start a college was still in its infancy, but Percy told Nease to call him if he ever needed a carpenter. Nease did just that.
By May 1967, The Morrisons had made the move to Mount Vernon where Percy’s first project was to build the President’s house — now the Couchenour House. Morrison’s experience as a general contractor made him a jack-of-all-trades. Morrison was largely responsible for tearing down old farm buildings to make way for college buildings and dormitories that he was basically credited for building.
Morrison, with help from farm hands and two of his sons, Bob and Larry, prepared the campus for its first class of students. He did it all, except for clearing the manure out of the old horse barn — that one he left for Bob and Larry.
Morrison continued to work for the college until 1983 when he retired. Although Percy passed away in 1994, his legacy lives on through the lives of those who remember him, particularly his wife. Betty has always acknowledged that God played a big role in placing them right where they needed to be.
“Coming to Mount Vernon was a wonderful venture, and we have no regrets,” she proclaimed.
“We thankfully obeyed the Holy Spirit and left all to follow God’s call.”
Excerpts by Zach Snider (’14), Reprinted from The Lakeholm Viewer, February 2012