The Austin College community is saddened to learn of the death on June 26 of senior trustee Linda Morris Elsey. Mrs. Elsey’s friendship, her guidance as a member of the board, and her generous philanthropy to Austin College leave a lasting legacy at the College.
Linda joined the Austin College Board of Trustees in 2003 and, over the next ten years, devoted her service to the Student Affairs Committee and its work. She completed her term in 2013 and then moved to the senior board. Linda and the late Jack Morris created The Morris Foundation of Fort Worth in 1988 and greatly impacted charitable causes in Fort Worth. As the scope of the foundation expanded, Linda and Jack became committed benefactors of various Austin College endowed scholarship initiatives, including The Mr. and Mrs. E.R. Morris Presidential Scholarship, the Morris Family Presidential Scholarship, the Jack B. Morris Presidential Scholarship, and the Linda C. Morris Presidential Scholarship. They also created the Morris Family Sponsored Academic Honors Scholarship, two Morris Foundation Sponsored Scholarships, and provided support for the Jack B. and Linda Morris Sponsored Leadership Scholarship. These scholarships have supported more than 120 students in their educational pursuits.
After Jack’s death in 2004, Linda and The Morris Foundation endowed the Jack B. Morris Chair of Entrepreneurial Studies and the Jack B. Morris Professorship of Economic Policy, as well as the Morris Conference Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. The foundation also created the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Wing during construction of the College’s IDEA Center in 2013. Earlier this year, The Morris Foundation made Austin College’s largest-ever foundation gift with a $7 million donation toward the renovation of the former Moody Science building to create the Jack B. Morris Center for Business Studies.
Linda later married David Elsey, who quickly became a good friend of Austin College as well. Linda’s son, Todd Liles, a 1987 graduate of Austin College and a current member of the Austin College Board of Trustees, is the executive director of The Morris Foundation, continuing the plan for family to lead the foundation. Daughter Laura Liles, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Michigan College of Veterinary Medicine, is a 1990 graduate of the College. With Linda’s death, Todd Liles, Laura Liles, and Michelle Piotrowski are now installed as the new Trustee Board of the Morris Foundation.
A viewing will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, at Greenwood Funeral Home (3100 White Settlement Rd, Fort Worth, TX 76107). The service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 5, at First United Methodist Church (800 W 5th St, Fort Worth, TX 76102), with a reception to follow. The family opens both to all those who want to pay their respects to this magnificent woman who impacted the lives of so many people—and whose legacy will live on for generations to come.