Longtime Idaho Philanthropist Velma Morrison Passes Away


By Paul Johnson

Photos courtesy of Boise State University

Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) - Velma Morrison, 92 of Boise passed away on June 20. She and her husband were longtime Boise State supporters and patron of the arts throughout Idaho. In a news release from BSU, School president Bob Kustra said, “We are saddened by the loss of Velma Morrison, who was a true friend and supporter of the Boise State community. She was like the guardian angel of the Morrison Center — she guided it and protected it and shepherded it so future generations could enjoy it and continue to learn from and be inspired by its productions.” In April 1984, working closely with then Boise State President John Keiser, Morrison combined her husband’s vision for a performing arts center in Boise with Boise State’s need for a performing arts academic building. The Morrison Family Foundation donated $3.5 million to Boise State University to support the project, and the state legislature supplemented the donation. Today, the Morrison Center houses the departments of Music and Theatre Arts and hosts performance artists from around the world.
The Morrison Foundation also supported academic programs, including the College of Engineering. In 1999, the university dedicated the Harry W. Morrison Civil Engineering Building. In 2004, Velma was named an honorary lifetime member of the Boise State University Foundation, in recognition of her many years of service to higher education and Boise State University.
Velma’s husband, Harry was co-founder of the Boise-based engineering and construction firm Morrison-Knudsen Co. That company built the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and the Hoover Dam along with many other large construction projects.
Velma and Harry Morrison were married in 1959. They lived in Boise until his death in 1971.

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