Angel Investing by Kevin Learned: Velma Morrison: A family friend, an inspiration to all

KEVIN LEARNED, director of the Venture College at Boise State and an experienced angel investor.June 25, 2013 

With Velma Morrison's death, we lose the last of a generation of giants who excelled at business and committed much of their wealth to helping their home state.

Velma's deep love of Boise serves as an example to all of us how generosity can enrich a community.

I knew Velma almost since she married Harry Morrison. Morrison's sister, Edna Allen, was a close friend and confidant of my parents. Through that connection my family became acquainted with Velma.

I have a vivid memory of my first nonsocial encounter with Velma. I was a young businessman in Boise and campaign chairman of the United Way around 1980. She called me toward the end of the campaign and asked me to come see her. She asked me how far I was from reaching the campaign goal. We were close but still a few thousand dollars away, I told her. On the spot, she wrote a check to United Way sufficient to ensure that we reached our goal. She not only knew how important it was to the community that we reach our goal, but how important it was for a young person to be successful in his first community leadership position.

I called on her when I was appointed president of the College of Idaho (then Albertson College of Idaho). She hugged me, congratulated me and told me it was time for her to resign as a trustee. She had served faithfully and generously throughout Bob Hendren's presidency of the college. She felt it was time for the next generation to assume responsibility. I reluctantly agreed.

She joined the Boise Rotary Club about that time. She attended frequently and always brought a guest or two to enjoy the fellowship. She resigned when she was no longer able to attend the meetings.

The angel investors in our community are committed to creating a better entrepreneurial ecosystem. Velma's commitment to the community, especially to education and the arts, is an inspiration to us all.

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