Sen. Ron Wyden’s recent visit to Eugene Weekly during our election endorsements process reminded me of the stories I have heard him tell about his start in public service work, including his work as an aide to the late Sen. Wayne Morse of Oregon.
This week — Oct. 20, specifically — marks Morse’s 122nd birthday. He was a staunch advocate for equality in education, and in early October, the Wayne Morse Historical Corporation in Eugene awarded scholarship money to two young women to help them pursue their academic goals and public service careers.
Cassandra Wilson is a liberal arts major at Portland State University who aims to become a climate and social justice advocate. Evelyn Peter, a freshman at the University of Oregon, is studying business administration with a minor in public health. She hopes to “attend law school and further represent and protect women, youth and people of color.”
Morse’s name adorns a handful of buildings and organizations in Eugene, and the scholarships serve as a reminder of the importance of funding public education to one and all, a policy that he spoke of often.
“We have the duty laid upon us,” he once noted, “to open the widest door of education to all who have the innate capacity to step over the threshold.”