The generosity of University of Maine alumni Phillip H. and Susan K. Morse has come full circle.
Ten years ago the couple, along with Harold Alfond, made the naming gift for the Harold Alfond Stadium and Morse Field. Recently, when football Coach Jack Cosgrove told them the turf had deteriorated and a new, state-of-the-art surface would help recruit top quality athletes and fortify the football program for years to come, the couple once again jumped at the chance to help Black Bear Athletics.
Now the Morses have pledged $1 million to replace the Astroturf on Morse Field with a new form of synthetic turf specifically designed for sports like football. Their gift provided the momentum for UMaine to begin plans to replace the Mahaney Diamond baseball turf with a similar surface, and to construct a new synthetic field hockey playing surface beyond the outfield at Kessock Field, the UMaine softball facility.
UMaine plans to fund those latter two projects with internal loans to be paid back from athletic revenues/and or future gifts along with some University recreation funds. The total price tag is projected at $2.2 million.
The Morses, who both graduated in 1964, made their donation through the Boston Red Sox Foundation. Phillip Morse is an owner and vice chairman of the Red Sox.
Their gift will boost Black Bear varsity sports as well as the University’s popular recreational sports programs, UMaine President Robert Kennedy said.
“Phil and Susan have once again humbled us with their generosity and this wonderful, meaningful gift will have a positive impact on a tremendous number of current and future UMaine students.”
The new artificial surface feels and plays like grass, cuts down on injuries and drains well in inclement weather to allow year-round activity.
Phil knows something about the needs of Black Bear athletes. He played first base for UMaine baseball and has wonderful memories of his time in Orono. “We love Maine and we love the University of Maine,” he says. “The professors were caring and attentive and everyone was friendly. It was just a wonderful place to go to school.”