Tour City Campus Tour East Campus Search

Charles H. Morrill

Regent, Benefactor

Related Buildings

Morrill Hall

Museum (Old)

Charles Morrill (1842-1928) arrived in Nebraska in 1871, an impoverished young farmer hoping to make a fresh start. In the following years the Morrill family prospered as the result of some good crops, smart land deals, personal connections, and hard work. Morrill prospered in the 1880s, and in 1890 he was elected to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. He was elected President of the Board in 1893, a position he retained for a decade.

In 1875, while working at Camp Robinson, Morrill developed an interest in fossils and geological artifacts. In 1892 Morrill began funding the Morrill Geological Expeditions to collect artifacts from various sites in Nebraska, primarily in the panhandle area. These annual outings were directed by Dr Erwin Barbour, Director of the University's Museum. In time, the Museum's collections grew to be recognized as significant on the national level, and included the giant elephant fossils for which the Museum has become famous.

Morrill continued to make generous gifts to the University. By the 1920's Morrill was growing old and was eager to see a new Museum built that would house the thousands of specimens collected through the Morrill Geological Expeditions. In 1925, with the support of Chancellor Avery, the Legislature approved funding for a new museum. Avery recommended to the Regents that the building be named in honor of Charles Morrill, a suggestion which they approved in June 1925.

Morrill lived to see the dedication of Morrill Hall in 1927. He died at his homestead in Stromsburg Nebraska on December 14, 1928.

Source Information:
For Posterity: namesakes of four University of Nebraska Buildings, by Anne Oppegard, in Nebraska History, fall 1997.