Literature, dance, and classical music surrounded Lilla B. Morgan at an early age, developing in her a deep appreciation for the arts that she brought with her to Fort Collins when her husband, William E. Morgan, was in 1949 named the eighth president of Colorado A&M.
In the following decades, she would become a matriarch of the community who championed the fine arts, symphonies, and theater performances in a town better known then for livestock and farming. Today, her legacy lives on through an endowment fund in her honor that supports the advancement of the arts and culture at Colorado State University.
Lilla Morgan grew up in Bryan, Texas, outside of College Station. Her father died when she was 3 years old and her mother joined the workforce, says her daughter, Dorcas Morgan Murray. While her mother was at work, Lilla spent the days with her grandmother, Lilla Graham McInnis. Her grandmother was a true Southern Lady of the town with deep knowledge of the classics, and she impressed upon her young granddaughter the beauty of classic arts.
The only place to escape the Texas heat in Bryan was the Carnegie Library, and it was a favorite place of young Lilla, who graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in English literature.
“The closest thing Bryan had to the arts was that Carnegie Library,” Dorcas says. “It was tiny — it did have little white columns, though.”