Biology 101: Generous educators help next generation

morgans-top-story“My family and I deeply appreciate your kindness. It means so much to me that you believe in, and encourage, the studies of UW-Green Bay students like me.”

Early this year, Linda Vang, a senior Biology major, got the chance to meet the couple whose generosity made possible her UW-Green Bay scholarship.

The young woman from Green Bay had written a thank-you note but it wasn’t until she attended a donor-recipient reception with them that she discovered much in common with Mike and Gloria Morgan. They believe in education as a life-changing opportunity. They regard UW-Green Bay as a special place. They share a passion for the study of environmental sciences.

Vang also learned that Mike Morgan, professor emeritus of Natural and Applied Sciences, has reason to be especially proud of her chosen program, Biology. He helped create the major when the University was new (1968), taught thousands of students in 37 years, and wrote the book on the emerging field of environmental studies. (In 1973, Morgan, Joseph Moran and James Wiersma co-wrote An Introduction to Environmental Sciences, one of the first comprehensive and widely used textbooks on the topic.)

Mike, who retired about a decade ago, says the decision to stay involved and take the additional step of establishing a scholarship fund seemed like a natural. Gloria, who founded and taught a preschool program for 24 years, felt the same way.

“We know how challenging it has become over the years for students to afford college,” Mike says. “With my history with the University, knowing students and alumni, and our shared history in education, we decided to make a gift.”

The Morgan/Macaluso Family Endowed Scholarship in Natural Sciences is named for the couple’s parents. Gloria notes her father, George, had to leave school early to support his family but remained an active adult learner throughout his 95 years. The scholarship gives preference to upper-level students with proven field experience in botany, ecology or field biology.

Vang says she plans to pursue graduate studies in entomology with the aim of contributing to better insight into plant-insect interactions and improved conservation management.

A version of this article was published previously in the 2013 Annual Report of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Foundation Inc.