President Frank’s Remarks at Naming of the Glenn Morris Field House and Medallion Ceremony
April 22, 2011
On behalf of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Colorado State University, thank you. This medal is a part of our university history — a history we share with Simla — as places that were important to Glenn Morris in his lifetime and places where he honed the extraordinary prowess that earned him Olympic Gold.
Glenn Morris symbolizes something deep within the American spirit. We first expressed it when King George sent the world’s greatest navy and the world’s finest army to America’s shores and American colonists asked, “And?” We expressed it more eloquently in the Bill of Rights.
Lincoln signed this same feeling into history — twice. Once with the emancipation proclamation and again with the Land Grant Act when he said, on behalf of all of us, we’re more interested in your ability to earn a college degree than in your family’s ability to buy it.
Ships filled with immigrants tapped into this aspect of the American spirit when they passed the Statue of Liberty, leaving behind the sentiment that they were unwanted and turning to a voice that welcomed hard work.
That sentiment echoes today in rooms where the newest U.S. citizens take the pledge of allegiance.
America is, at her soul, a meritocracy — concerned with one thing and one thing only – ability backed by motivation.
Glenn Morris represented this when he rose from his childhood in a small Colorado town and stepped onto a brightly lit world stage, standing shoulder to shoulder with his Olympic teammates in stark contrast to the ideas of Nazism. On that stage, with his performance and his presence, he said clearly — and on behalf of all of us — it’s not about where you come from, it’s not about your lineage, it’s about what you can do.
Nearly 40 years after his death, and closing in on a century since his landmark performance at one of the most important Olympic games in world history, Glenn Morris remains a brilliant symbol. His pride in his team, his tireless pursuit of excellence, and his love of this University are why we are here today.
CSU has been home to many great athletes—Amy Van Dyken, Fum McGraw, Bill Green, Earlie Thomas, Sherrie Danielson, Erin Popovich, Becky Hammon, and many more.
But all of these great athletes followed in the footsteps of Glenn Morris, who came to CSU from a small Colorado town and went on to astound the world with a record-setting Olympic performance that continues to earn him honors and recognition as one of the greatest athletes our country has ever known.
CSU and its Board of Governors are proud to honor that enduring legacy with the naming of this field house, which will stand as a tribute to the hard work, struggle, persistence, and character that are essential in the shaping of a champion—in athletics, yes, but also in all other areas of life worth pursuing.