Dean Morell (Oregon ’79) is the most recent recipient of the Merit Key, the second highest individual honor given by Sigma Alpha Epsilon. It recognizes an alumnus who has showed significant service and loyalty to the Fraternity over an extended period of time. Nominees must have served at least ten years of sustained leadership in multiple positions on national, regional, and local levels. Less than 800 of our 336,526 initiated members have received a Merit Key.

Morell’s leadership first emerged as the Eminent Archon for his chapter. Following graduation, he stayed involved with the Portland Alumni Association, becoming President in 1987. Morell also served as a faculty member of the John O. Moseley Leadership School, educating multiple generations of undergraduates on friendship, scholarship, leadership, and service over a 10-year period. With an extensive background in finance, his volunteerism continued on the Investment Committee before being named to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2013, which he still serves on.

“SAE has been a lifetime experience for me. After graduating, my circles expanded to the alumni association. It happened again on the Investment Committee and now the Foundation’s Board [of Trustees]. I met some of my fellow board members during our tenures as Leadership School faculty and we’ve been close ever since.”

Those friends and fellow board members, Curtis Frasier (Arizona State ’77), Wade Quinn (Texas Tech ’84), and Brad Cohen (Arizona ’85), were all in attendance for the presentation of Morell’s Merit Key at a September board meeting in Denver. Unbeknownst to Morell, he thought “someone was getting expelled” when the entire Supreme Council entered the meeting room. As Eminent Supreme Archon Tom Dement read the nomination and qualifications, the room quickly figured out who the newest Merit Key holder would be. In his remarks, Morell thanked the Fraternity and reiterated the importance of friendship and how the organization can nurture those for life.

“More than anything, I want to give back to the Fraternity because it has provided so many meaningful relationships in my life. The spirit of fraternalism is alive and I want to ensure future generations have the same opportunities I had to develop those friendships. It’s also nice having a friend almost anywhere you go.”


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