By Hannah Shaffer
On Saturday, May 10, early childhood education major Megan Morrison of Warren will graduate from the University of Mount Union while her aunt, Mount Union alumna and president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) Nancy Hill, Class of '79, will present the commencement address on "How do you want your eggs? Empowerment vs. Entitlement."
Not only does a love for Mount Union run through the family blood, but an enthusiasm for service as well. Morrison grew up completing service projects at home, such as the Pittsburgh Project with her church youth group at First United Methodist Church. When she came to Mount Union, she found a perfect fit with the service fraternity on campus, Alpha Phi Omega.
Megan Morrison and Nancy Hill
"I joined because I love what it stands for: leadership, friendship and service," Morrison said. "I love serving and helping those less fortunate. It reminds me of how lucky I am. It's crazy how people will come together for the greater good; it shows me that there is still good in our world."
Hill introduced Morrison to "People Helping People," a movement that strongly believes all great things in the world happen because of people helping other people. Through the organization, Hill travels to Ecuador two to three times a year for various volunteering opportunities in the rural Andes Mountains.
Hill surprised Morrison with a trip to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador one summer. It was in Ecuador that Morrison realized her dreams of becoming an educator.
"We had the opportunity to help build a school while we were there. The kids couldn't stop thanking us for providing them with a place for education," she said.
Morrison has made the trip with her aunt three times now and plans on a return in the near future.
"I think that first trip especially changed her outlook on the world," Hill said. "When you spend time, real time, in another country and get to know the people, their customs and culture, you learn more about yourself, your country and how we fit into the rest of the world. [The trip] makes life's little problems seem trivial and reminds us just how blessed we are."
According to Hill, Mount Union opened her eyes to being a curious person (the number one characteristic she looks for in potential employees), which has aided in her career as an advertising practitioner.
"Once you discover the endless worlds of possibility within advertising, it's almost impossible for a curious and creatively driven person not to love it," Hill said. "I've worked with so many different clients in so many different categories, from the largest spice company in the world to Cisco, Motorola, AOL, Sony and George Lucas. Who wouldn't love to spend their time that way and get paid for it?"
Morrison admires her aunt's determination, standing firm in the belief that she achieved success not from luck, but through hard work.
"Back in the early '80s it was still a very tough industry in which women could be successful," Hill said. "Things have improved, but we still have a long way to go. Being named the CEO of the largest trade association representing the industry in 2008 was significant in sending the industry a signal that women could make it to the top."
"Do not ever tell my aunt she can't, because one way or another she will," Morrison said. "She has earned everything she has. Aunt Nancy has proven that women can have major roles in society. I have high hopes for my future and watching her has helped shape my motivation."
Through the completion of an inspiring internship at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism, Morrison had the opportunity to work with amazing students and better understand autism. Her ultimate career goal is to work with autistic children, become a classroom behavioral therapist and make a difference in students' lives.
Morrison is certainly not limiting herself with career possibilities, as she currently has applications in at Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism, Collegiate School in New York City and International School Services just to name a few.