By: Dezaray Barr
Phillip Morton, a 1987 graduate of Marion College, received the Ohio Statewide annual MLK Commemorative Celebration Award in the category of social justice on January 12, 2017, in downtown Columbus.
“It was just a beautiful ceremony,” Morton said. “Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King… I’m just overwhelmed.”
Morton said he owes this award to Rushville, Indiana, where he grew up, but specifically his parents, his teachers, and the Wesley United Methodist Church.
“That’s where I started at and they believed in me,” he said. He also thanks the professors at Marion College, specifically Dr. Mike Fratzke, currently serving as a faculty at IWU and Dr. Ott.
After graduating from Marion College with a B.S. in Sociology, Morton choose to help misguided children at Star Commonwealth Schools in Van Wert, Ohio, since closed. Morton was a group leader for the program, which helped struggling and misguided children with their social and life skills, helping them grow in both their education and faith. Morton had the opportunity to be a role model to the children and teach them to believe in themselves.
“What Marion College taught me,” Morton said, “is that if you can get your mindset to the point where you can make a difference, just not in your life, but in the life of others… that’s what I left Marion College with: I can make a difference.”
Eventually, Morton found a greater need to work with adults. He is currently a Corrections Program Coordinator at Allen Oakwood Correctional Facility in Lima, Ohio where he now lives with his wife of 44 years and their two beautiful daughters.
“It’s no different. It’s still ministry,” said Morton about working in the correctional facility.
Although Morton is a success man, he aspires to give God all of his success. “First and foremost, I’m giving all the praise to the Lord Jesus Christ our heavenly father,” Morton said. “All the glory goes to Him… this award is a reflection of putting God first.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a sophomore Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU Dezaray is involved in PRSSA leadership and runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.