Application for the Wayne Morse Legacy Scholarship is made through the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC). The Legacy Scholarship was created to recognize and help support an Oregon student who seeks access to higher education and has demonstrated or may be inspired by Senator Morse’s legacies of public service, integrity, fierce independence, and commitment to principle. It takes into consideration an applicant’s academics, community service, individual achievements and financial need.
In addition to the submissions requested by OSAC, the Wayne Morse Legacy Scholarship requires applicants to provide a personal essay, not to exceed 500 words, examining ways in which principles espoused by Senator Morse are reflected in the applicant’s past actions and/or plans for the future.
Watch a short video of Senator Morse’s passionate defense of his core belief, his faith in the role of the people in the democratic process and decision making, via the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics website (coming soon). This particular video clip shows Morse questioning the constitutionality of the Vietnam War.
Read excerpts from some of Wayne Morse’s speeches by clicking on this PDF link (4 pages/135k).
Read excerpts from some of Wayne Morse’s memorial tributes by clicking on this PDF link (4 pages/79k).
Visit our links page to find additional resources about Wayne Morse.
MORSE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
Wayne Morse Legacy Scholarship Recipients
Legacy Scholarship recipients selected thus far have attended Portland State, Oregon State, the University of Oregon and Lane and Portland Community Colleges. They include those who were first in their families to attend college as well as nontraditional and marginalized students who struggled to overcome a variety of challenges before entering college. They were active in their communities and on campus, often taking leadership roles, while maintaining outstanding academic records. They have pursued studies in sociology, social work, nursing, education, and fisheries and wildlife science.
WMHPC honors the Legacy Scholarship recipients and their families each fall at a Board Meeting. We have been inspired by their determination to seek higher education, their leadership and public service skills and their commitment to integrity and principle. They carry forward Wayne Morse’s charge to “open the widest door of education to all who have the… capacity to step over that threshold.”
Tony Vezina – 2015
The fifth Wayne Morse Legacy Scholarship was awarded to Tony Vezina, a student at Portland Community College Cascades where he served as ASPCC-Cascades President and Chair of the PCC District Student Council. In addition he headed the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Growing up with generational addiction, Tony struggled with substance abuse. As he worked to get clean, he earned his GED and was determined to find ways to give back to a community from which he’d taken. Among his efforts were founding the Recovery 101 Club at Cascade Campus and initiating a mentoring program at the 4th Dimension Recovery Center where he is Vice President. He is working for his Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certificate, and hopes to earn a Bachelor’s in sociology. Vezina credited relationships with people who approached him to provide help without judgment, unconditional love, hope and the opportunity afforded him at the 4th Dimension Center for motivating him to change his life. His is a remarkable story.
Tony also brought news about our first Legacy Scholarship recipient, Julie Mertes, who works in Portland as a counselor with Volunteers of America and programs dealing with substance abuse treatment. He credited her with being very influential in his recovery and an integral part of him finding hope and direction. It is great news when we hear about previous recipients who carry on the Morse legacy of service in their communities and reminds us of the impact the scholarship can have.
Merriam Weatherhead – 2014
The recipient of the fourth Wayne Morse Legacy Scholarship was Merriam Weatherhead, a junior at the University of Oregon majoring in sociology. Weatherhead earlier attended Lane Community College where she was Student Body President, served as Chair of the Oregon Student Association Board of Directors, and, as a member of the Board of the U.S. Student Association, chaired the Community College Caucus.
A tireless non-partisan political activist, in 2012 Weatherhead helped lead the Oregon Student Association voter registration campaign which registered a record breaking 50,000 students, including an unprecedented 6,500 new LCC voters. She lobbied in support of State educational funding and to avoid reductions in Federal programs that provide access to education to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Weatherhead’s community involvement began early at Churchill High School with service on the West Eugene Teen Court, an alternative to the juvenile court system that provides neighborhood peer review hearings and monitoring for non-violent offenders. She also volunteered with SMART to stimulate interest in reading by elementary school children and with Creative Care to help children at Cesar Chavez Elementary with homework after school.
On graduation Weatherhead plans to work for a non-profit organization devoted to making post-secondary education more broadly accessible. She adds, “It’s been my passion since first arriving on campus. Earlier I had never thought that college was a possibility for me. I don’t want to work just on issues of affordability, but also to ensure that students from under represented communities can attend college free from barriers that may not at first glance appear to be “education” issues, but still affect students and whether they can obtain a degree.”
Dylan McDowell – 2013
McDowell graduated from Waldport High School where he also took on-line courses through Chemekata Community College. Majoring in both Fisheries and Wildlife Science and in Education he plans to focus on disseminating scientific information in understandable terms to the general public. A writer for OSU’s Terra Magazine which connects readers with research happening throughout the university, he published several articles featuring OSU scientific research and developed an OSU science podcast.
Growing up in Yachats McDowell actively participated in civic affairs as a member of the local Youth Council beginning in the fifth grade. Youth Council members were encouraged to create proposals and present them to the City Council, resulting in the creation of a community garden, a food pantry, and other local programs. McDowell adds, “The community in Yachats really taught me the power of working together to achieve a common goal. I was able to participate in many projects throughout the town as I grew up, and learned a lot along the way. I was really fortunate to have the support that I did.”
Mary Gross – 2012
While her original intent had been to become a doctor, a medical condition led her to conclude that life and death medical responsibilities were not something she could handle and she left college for several years. Later while helping the victim of a highway traffic accident and assisting in another health emergency, she realized how she “had learned to manage [her] own health, was calm and capable during crisis and could now pursue [her] passion for health care.” Mary plans to earn an AAS-Nursing degree from LCC, complete her BS in Nursing at OHSU and go on to attain a Master’s degree to become a Nurse Practitioner capable of serving a diverse patient population. In 2013, she was honored by the LCC Foundation with the Patricia & Moreland Speyer Nursing Scholarship for a 2nd Year Student.
Her parents have been an important source of inspiration for Mary. Despite never graduating from high school themselves, they “instilled in [her] a deep appreciation for how education can transform lives and how adversity, rather than creating bitterness, can be an inspiration to work even harder and help others who struggle.”
WMHPC lauds Mary’s contagious enthusiasm in helping to recruit and train others, her determination and success in overcoming personal obstacles, and her interest in advocacy for best practices to improve our medical system.
Julie Mertes – 2011
A troubled high school drop-out who struggled with drug addiction from an early age and occasional homelessness, Mertes secured her secondary education diploma nearly a decade later. With encouragement and support from her grandmother with whom she lives as well as an understanding judge and probation officer, she turned her life around. She eventually enrolled at a community college and began working with the homeless population as well as with student mentoring programs. She graduated magna cum laude from Portland State and maintains a 3.8-plus grade point average in her graduate studies. On receiving her Master’s degree she plans to use her education and hard won knowledge of personal behavioral transformation to help others overcome the kinds of problems and barriers she herself faced.
WMHPC couldn’t be prouder of our choice for the first Legacy Scholarship, for her response to the challenges in her life, for her outstanding academics and a strong commitment to public service.