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PHOTOS: Morrissey legacy lives on through scholarship

Behind-the-scenes of this moving gift


 
Morrissey Legacy

SUMMARY: A story of remembrance and friendship – Bobby Morrissey’s (‘80) family and friends gathered on campus to announce the inaugural Morrissey Culinary Scholar, Evie Smith (’23), shown above with President Alger and donors Nora (‘82) and Steve (‘80) Crouch.


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Remembered as “everybody’s best friend,” Bobby Morrissey passed away in December 2019. Now, his legacy continues through a new scholarship – the Robert J. (Bobby) Morrissey Memorial Pay It Forward Scholarship Endowment– made possible by his former JMU roommate and other friends.


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After graduating with a degree in political science, Bobby enjoyed careers as both a classically-trained French chef and a respected lawyer. His passion was in the culinary arts and bringing people together, according to his college roommate Steve Crouch. Left to right: Crouch, Jimmy Sackett, Bobby Morrissey (‘80), Jon Travis (‘80).

 Jon Travis (‘80), Tom MacLeod (‘80), Wanda MacLeod (‘81), Steve Crouch, Nora Crouch, and Bobby Morrissey

Steve and his wife Nora (’82) wanted to carry on Bobby’s legacy at JMU, leading them to establish the Robert J. (Bobby) Morrissey Memorial Pay it Forward Scholarship Endowment. The Crouch’s gift, along with a generous contribution from Bobby’s sister Anne Morrissey and her spouse Rosemarie Greco, now provides financial resources for a student enrolled in the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management who is or has served as a teaching assistant in the culinary labs course. The Crouch family hopes that recipients will be inspired to “pay it forward” upon graduation – helping fellow JMU students and alumni achieve their fullest potential. Left to right: Jon Travis (‘80), Tom MacLeod (‘80), Wanda MacLeod (‘81), Steve Crouch, Nora Crouch, and Bobby Morrissey.

Steve and Nora Crouch

Nora and Steve have been loyal JMU supporters for more than 30 years. They care deeply about scholarships and paying it forward, and they have supported numerous efforts across campus for students, faculty and facilities. Nora is a Women for Madison Amethyst Circle Founder, a member of the College Of Business Board of Advisors and also a leader among the Ole School Alumni Group. Steve is a loyal athletics fan and more deeply involved with the Hart School with a background in the hospitality industry and franchise operations. 

morrissey family and friends

On April 8, 2022, Crouch and Morrissey families and friends gathered on campus to present the inaugural award. JMU representatives arranged a day full of experiences on campus to show the group how the University has grown since the 80s and what it’s like to be a Duke on today’s campus. Those in attendance represented 5 alumni classes, including: Bobby’s brother John Morrissey (’86) and his wife Kris Morrissey (’85), Tom MacLeod and Wanda MacLeod, and Steve and Nora Crouch.

morrissey special welcome in hart school culinary kitchen

Families received a special welcome from President Alger before enjoying lunch crafted by students in the Hart School culinary kitchen. The kitchen is similar to those seen on national cooking shows– with overhead cameras, wall-mounted monitors, a student lab area, and professional-grade appliances. Students use advanced technology to review lectures and reference ingredients as they work.

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Bobby’s brother John (‘86) shared touching memories and offered advice to the scholarship recipient. “Bobby taught me five favorite ingredients that he used in every recipe,” John told the group. “They were: butter, heavy whipping cream, salt, sour cream… and butter. I know I said butter twice. He put butter in everything. As you can imagine, everything he cooked tasted delicious because it had 9,000 calories.” He described Bobby as someone who, “really relished opportunities to cook not just for himself but for everyone else,”-- someone who would give a gourmet dinner as a wedding gift or transform a family camping trip into a “Thanksgiving-style situation.”

The inaugural Morrissey Culinary Scholar, Evie Smith (’23)

The inaugural Morrissey Culinary Scholar, Evie Smith (’23), says she feels rewarded by the human connection involved in the hospitality field and fulfills her passion by creating the best experience possible for her guests. In addition to her studies, she is gaining experience at Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center and is a member of Chi Alpha, a Christian campus fellowship on campus.

Evie was joined by her professor Tassie Pippert (’11, ’13M)

Evie was joined by her professor Tassie Pippert (’11, ’13M), a lecturer of hospitality management. She received a custom lab coat to commemorate her special occasion. 

Bobby’s brother John offered sage advice to Evie, explaining that Bobby volunteered at a homeless shelter, providing both food and culinary training. “My wish for you,” he told her, “is that you study hard, use butter every chance you get, and when it comes time in your life’s journey, when you can help somebody else, please do. Utilizing your culinary skills can be much more than just cooking. For Bobby, it was an extension of the love he felt.”

Steve shared fond memories of Bobby and the reasons he and Nora established this scholarship

Steve shared fond memories of Bobby and the reasons he and Nora established this scholarship. Anne, Bobby’s sister and an investor in the fund, called the scholarship, “a gesture that not only was so generous, but also so full of thought and love in every aspect of its structure. ‘In Perpetuity” keeps him alive for so many people.”

President Alger shaking hands with Bobby's son

Finally, President Alger surprised Bobby’s son, James, with an honorary lab coat to close the celebration and further embrace the Morrisseys as part of the JMU family. Bobby’s sister Jean summarized the entire event as one full of love: “There was a saying in our house that our Dad would use when the family and friends all came together for occasions: ‘There’s love in the house.’ There certainly was an abundance of love at JMU.” 

If you are interested in learning more about available scholarships, visit jmu.edu/scholarships. To learn how your gifts can make a difference in the lives of JMU students, visit jmu.edu/give

Published: Thursday, May 26, 2022

Last Updated: Friday, May 27, 2022

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