The Acadia Alumni Association has designated former General Manager of the Acadia Students’ Union Ian Morrison as an Honorary Alumnus for his outstanding contributions to the Acadia community over the past 25 years.
The distinction recognizes an individual who is not an Acadia graduate, but who, through volunteerism, support and/or outstanding contributions to the University, alumni and broader Acadia network has become an important member of the Acadia community.
Acadia Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath (’75) made the announcement, saying, “students are the lifeblood of the University and the basis of our alumni community upon graduation. Their experiences on campus shape what comes afterward, and we are pleased to celebrate people like Ian Morrison, whose unfailingly kind, caring and faithful commitment to Acadia’s students defines their experiences here and all that they bring to our alumni family. I’m delighted to welcome him to our community as an Honorary Alumnus and extend sincere congratulations to him and his family.”
When it comes to service leadership and student impact at Acadia, few can boast credentials as impressive as Morrison’s. He came to Acadia in 1993 as a St. Mary’s University graduate and settled in quickly and comfortably as Student Centre Manager. In 1999, he became General Manager of the Acadia Students’ Union (ASU), responsible for the operation of a $3-million not-for-profit that included oversight of six businesses and three publications. He was also responsible for the administration and design of the student health plan, supervision of the ASU’s six full-time staff, negotiation of contracts, and support for the ASU Executive Board, comprised of five student leaders.
Additionally, he was a constant resource for students: as counsellor, institutional historian, and cheerleader. He was a strong and solid advocate, moving the needle personally and professionally at every turn.
Former ASU President Matt Rios (’14) describes Morrison in a letter of recommendation that states, Ian “has been a stalwart defender of students and has been a steward in addressing important student issues like mental health, sexual violence, alcohol harm and youth employment. Ian came to work every day in the service of a single constituency: students.”
Grace Hamilton Burge (’18), says, “in my time as President of the Students’ Union, I worked alongside Ian. I believe that only the Students’ Union Executive has had the distinct pleasure of getting to know the depth of what Ian contributed to Acadia because he did not ask for, nor expect, any credit. Ian worked for the Acadia Students’ Union for so many years and is the reason that the Students’ Union is the respected organization it is today.
“Ian contributed to the Acadia community by enriching the experience of all the students. He championed the renovations of the Axe Bar and Grill and created an atmosphere for students and alumni to come together and celebrate. The Christmas Craft Expo has been a long-time tradition at Acadia that was made possible by Ian’s leadership. Ian has managed and overseen the employment of nearly 100 student staff every year. Under his guidance, not only did students have more money to support their education, they became involved with the Union and Acadia community. He has demonstrated what quiet and thoughtful leadership can produce.”
Morrison’s selection places him in distinguished company. Previous Honorary Alumni of Acadia University include Peter W. Webster, former Acadia President and Vice-Chancellor Ray Ivany and legendary football coach John Huard.
Written by Fred Sgambati (’83)