The first Deborah Morton Awards were presented on April 20th, 1961, at a public Convocation entitled "The Modern World and the Education of Woman," celebrating the 130th anniversary of the founding of Westbrook Seminary and Junior College. Mr. William S. Linnell, President of the Board of Trustees, assisted by college President Edward Y. Blewett, presented the first Awards to twelve women of the Greater Portland area who had made significant and valuable contributions to the civic, cultural, and social life of the community, in the manner of Deborah Morton who had rendered more than fifty years of distinguished service to Westbrook Seminary and Junior College.
Deborah Nichols Morton is a significant figure in institutional history. Her association with Westbrook Seminary and Junior College, beginning in 1876 as a student and extending to the 1940s, bridged two centuries and survived a crucial period in the life of the college—that of transition from seminary to junior college.
In the March 1964 Westbrook Junior College Alumnae News, Dorothy Healy, whose own association with Westbrook spanned fifty years and the transition from junior college to college, reminisced about Deborah Morton: "I had thought myself 'educated.' Miss Morton taught me two lessons of immense value: (1) that education is a never-ending quest. Indeed, that life itself is of little or no value when the will to learn has stopped and (2) that every idea worth holding is worth doubting, testing, evaluating."
Miss Morton was of Maine, a Down-East Yankee in character, but she was by no means provincial. She had studied abroad and in several of our finest New England colleges; she had travelled to Europe and the Middle East on at least fourteen voyages, many of them in groups of which she was a director; she served in the vanguard of women who fought for equal rights on the social, political, and economic levels. She had an adventurous spirit, an inquisitive and doubting one.
Higher Education | History | United States History | Women's History
Location of Original
Westbrook College History Collection
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Westbrook College History Collection, UNE Library Services, "Deborah Morton Award Ceremony Fiftieth Anniversary Keepsake" (2011). Deborah Morton Award 50th Anniversary (2011). 1.