Marceline “Marcy” Weatherly Morris ’50 remembers how her parents saved and sacrificed, taking out loans so she could pursue a music degree at Mary Washington.
“They just knew it was important for their only child to have an education,” said Marcy, who also fell in love with a young sailor in college, Elmer Morris Jr. ’50, who came to his mother’s alma mater on the GI Bill. At her parents’ request, Marcy waited until after graduation to marry her beloved “Juney,” so that her maiden name, Weatherly, would be on her diploma.
That surname will now live on at the University of Mary Washington, with a significant gift from the Morrises to name the Weatherly Wing in the newly renovated Seacobeck Hall for Marcy’s late parents, William Rupert and Lavon Gardner Weatherly. The alums returned to their alma mater on Nov. 17 to dedicate the 150-seat multipurpose auditorium, which is being used for lectures, recitals, and other special events. They, along with family and friends, faculty, staff, administrators, and members of the Board of Visitors (BOV) and Foundation Board, listened as a series of speakers honored their contributions to the University.
“One of the greatest joys I’ve had as president here is getting to know dedicated alums such as you,” said President Troy Paino, praising the couple for their lifelong commitment and service to Mary Washington, which has educated five generations of the Morris family. “You embody so much of what we try to impart onto our students.”
The president also thanked them for their continued support of UMW, including establishing the Marceline Weatherly Morris Musical Theatre Scholarship and funding the renovation of the Morris Stage at Heslep Amphitheatre, where Marcy was crowned May Queen her senior year. “Your generous gifts help our students learn, grow, and pursue their interests and passions, just as the two of you did while you were here at Mary Washington.”
BOV Rector Devon Williams Cushman ’93 read the BOV’s resolution and spoke about her shared connection to Marcy and Juney as Mary Washington alums, calling them an “inspiration” for the UMW community.
Pete Kelly, dean of the College of Education, now housed in Seacobeck Hall, told the couple that students and faculty are already learning and performing in the Weatherly Wing. “I know that generations to come will enjoy it.”
Expressing her gratitude on behalf of the student body, junior Sofia Taylor sang the opening of an aria from The Tales of Hoffmann, which she performed in the space earlier this year. Aquila Venti, a student chamber music trio, also played, showcasing the room’s incredible acoustics.
“The Weatherly Wing is the perfect place for music,” said Sofia, a full-ride Alvey Scholarship recipient who is majoring in psychology and minoring in music and neuroscience. “I’m sure if this space was a part of the Mary Washington campus in 1950, Mrs. Morris would have enjoyed performing here as a student.”
At last, Marcy took the mic, sharing her appreciation to the University for giving her and Juney the opportunity to pay tribute to her parents and the Weatherly name.
“We love Mary Washington, we love our family, and we love each other, and that’s pretty good after 72 years of marriage,” she said. “Thank you for being here and for letting us be a part of this special place.”
For information on naming gifts at the University of Mary Washngton, please contact the Office of University Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-654-1024.
– Article written by Assistant Director of Advancement Communications Jill Laiacona