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Thursday, August 18, 2011
Dolph Morrison played baseball for Lipscomb in 1958 and 1959 before graduating in 1960. Dolph came to Lipscomb after serving as a distinguished Marine Sergeant in the Korean War. After excelling in business and math at Lipscomb, Dolph continued his outstanding achievements in the business world for over 40 years until his retirement in 2003. Dolph's business ventures have led him to work in Washington D.C., Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma and back to his home in Alabama. Dolph attended Lipscomb with his wife Ellen Mills Morrison who was a 1957 Lipscomb graduate. Dolph and Ellen, who started dating after High School, both came to Lipscomb from their home in the Birmingham, Alabama.
Overall it would be just playing with my teammates. In Baseball we had several older guys that were veterans and we were real close. When I think of an athletic memory I remember one game when I stole home. One early season game we were playing and facing a left handed pitcher and I was the runner on third. I could get two extra steps because he really wasn't paying attention to me and I felt like I could make it home. On the next pitch as soon as he lifted his front leg I took off and when I slid into home I arrived almost before the ball got there and slid into our batter. We won the game 1-0 so it was a big run. I was pretty fast and batted second in the line-up and played second. Wayne Smith would bat first and he would usually get on by a walk or hit and then I would bunt him over. I had over 1000 hours of playing Pepper growing up and became a really good bunter. A lot times when I bunted Wayne over to second I would be safe at first and we started the game with runners at first and second with no outs. Those were really fun times.
Charlie Morris was a special coach. I really enjoyed playing for him and working with him in Basketball. Being a little older with a Marine background Coach Morris really wanted me to share a lot of the leadership skills I learned in the Marines with the team. My teammates also had a big influence on me as we made so many lasting memories playing sports.
I have several, but one is when we would attend chapel. I was amazed at how beautiful the Gospel singing was as all the students sang. I would catch myself not singing just so I could listen and hear the beautiful singing. To this day I can still hear how beautiful it was as Buddy Arnold would lead the singing. And there was the big Boomer, Brother Collins in Chapel. It really was a great time in our lives. I have a lot of memories about my time in Elam Hall that was a boy's dorm during my time at Lipscomb. Probably one of the things that impacted me the most were the 9:00 o'clock devotionals we had each night. There were 15 of us that would gather to study the Bible led by Hoot Gipson. Our goal was to learn as much Bible as possible
At Lipscomb I learned the importance of being a team player and putting the team first. Also, when I got to Lipscomb I was able to implement as a leader a lot of the things I learned in the service. In the Marines I was put into a leadership position after making Sergeant in only two years of duty. In business I implemented what I had learned at Lipscomb that you let your Department Managers run the Department. As a leader you want to be firm and fair and you want to macro-manage not micro-manage. I specifically remember at work I would walk the plant at 6:37 in the morning 3 days a week and talk to the Managers and workers. I would not talk business I would ask them about their family, their children and other personal things, but not work. This would go a long way in building the relationship with those I was leading.
Without a doubt it was Axel Swang. I really liked Business and Math and could not get enough of these subjects. During my time at Lipscomb I really earned a double major in both Business and Math with over 40 hours in each subject. The greatest thing Axel taught me was not only accounting, but also the practical application. When I look back it was the greatest training I could have ever experienced. Axel was such a blessing in helping me get my business career started by getting me a job with Price Waterhouse in Nashville during the tax season. Axel, who was the Secretary of the CPA Society, really encouraged me to take a shot at learning how to do in-depth Tax work. That job led to my training with the IRS where we trained in tax law. I spent eight hours a day for 36 weeks in Washington DC studying tax law. It was an incredible experience.
My first employer was working for the IRS in the Northern District of Alabama and later forming an Accounting Tax Law Firm with Charles Bence in Jasper, Alabama where we specialized in Tax Law and Audits. We also played a lot of golf back then around the few days we actually worked. When I look back over my life I can't help but to see how God has blessed me and opened doors for me by the relationships he put in my path. While working at the Tax Law Firm one of my clients, who owned a successful strip mine, was in poor health and called me up to offer me a proposal. He said because of our friendship, the way we had treated him in business and the concern he had for his wife he wanted me to take over the business. From that blessing we received from Charlie's offer and business opportunity we were able to venture into working with the Mine Unions as well as several Steel Companies across the country for the next 25 years. In 1984, I returned to Birmingham and became CEO of SMI Steel until I retired in 2003. We have lived in a lot of places, but have been blessed everywhere we have been.
Tell us about your family
My wife Ellen and I married soon after our days at Lipscomb. Ellen taught 1st grade for 16 years and then turned her attention to raising our children. We have three children, sons David and Dean and also a daughter Kathleen Doisy, who along with her husband Richard have two daughters, 15 year old Rachel Alexandra and 8 year old Samantha Nichole. Among my business ventures is ownership of several American Thoroughbred filly racehorses. One of his most successful horses was the 2009 Horse of the Year and Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra, named after his oldest granddaughter.
I retired in 2006 and Ellen and I moved to Columbia, Missouri where we reside close to our daughter and granddaughters.