Western Carolina University faculty member Edward Morse gave a special birthday gift to his wife Patricia Morse recently by establishing a scholarship in her name at the university.
The Patricia Murray Morse Endowed Fund will provide scholarships to students seeking a master’s degree in social work at WCU. Both teach in the College of Health and Human Sciences, where she is a professor of social work, the department head and graduate program director, while he is an associate professor of social work. The couple reside in Cashiers.
“This is better than jewelry, trips, all those kinds of things,” she said. “I was overwhelmed, absolutely overwhelmed. And I also thought it was the perfect gift. It is so reflective of this generous, caring man who does so much, not just the financial aspect but from his heart, for Western Carolina University, for Jackson County, for the Cashiers community. It says so much about his respect for me, my profession and social work in general, and I am overwhelmed.”
Ed Morse said the idea for the gift originated in knowing his wife. “Pat is very attached to this university,” he said. “She is devoted to social work and cares so much about the mountains. So you see that and then you see this need to support graduate students in social work, especially in this region, because we are running into a deficit of them, very quickly now. Believe it or not, WCU and this department has to generate psychotherapists to deal with a population trying to cope with anxiety, depression, drug addiction and those mental health issues, and obesity, childcare and parenting and societal needs.”
Pat Morse received her master’s and doctorate from Tulane University in New Orleans. She joined the WCU faculty in 2007. Prior to her tenure at Western Carolina, she was a professor in the psychiatry department at LSU Medical School in New Orleans for more than 30 years. She conducts individual, family and group psychotherapy with children and adults, and her research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Human Resource Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
She has served as a national consultant to the Veterans Administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and to numerous public health, mental health and substance abuse programs. She was appointed to the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board in 20011 and has served as the chair of the board for the past three years. She also has served on several community service boards including the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau and the Community Care Clinic of Highlands-Cashiers.
Ed Morse, in addition to his role at WCU, is a professor emeritus of sociology and pediatric infectious diseases at Tulane University in New Orleans. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and his doctorate from Cornell University. He has conducted both qualitative and quantitative studies of risk behavior among African-American males, male prostitutes, injection drug users, HIV-infected men and women, and the children of HIV-infected women. He has served as a consultant to the Veterans Administration and to the Executive Office of Drug Policy. He has published widely in the fields of HIV, Hepatitis C, high risk health behaviors, injection drug use and other substance use.
He serves on the community boards of the Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic, the Summit Charter School, and the Rotary Club of Cashiers Valley and is active in fundraising for local animal rescue and the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital.
When asked about plans for Pat Morse’s next birthday, Ed Morse smiled and slyly said it would – once again – “involve Western Carolina University.”
For more information about supporting or creating a scholarship, contact the WCU Office of Development at 828-227-7124 or visit the website give.wcu.edu.
By Geoff Cantrell