Loretta Morris

Message from the President
April 9, 2020

Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to share that Loretta M. Morris, emeritus professor of sociology and Faculty Hall of Fame inductee, passed away on April 8, 2020, after a long illness. She was 93 years old.

Professor Morris joined then-Loyola University as an associate professor in 1970, was promoted to professor in 1974, and retired in May 2005. Throughout her 35-year career at LMU, she epitomized the teacher-scholar model, publishing the authoritative history of the American Catholic Sociological Society and its transformation into the Association for the Sociology of Religion. This work was made more difficult by the destruction of the society’s records in a fire years earlier. Reconstructing and verifying her material took months of letter writing and personal interviews. She also reviewed books for the journal Social Analysis. 

Professor Morris was the first woman to be appointed chair of a Loyola University academic department; served as chair of the Core Curriculum Committee (1984–1987); and was a member of the Rank and Tenure Committee for several years. She helped develop and establish LMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence, which continues to provide a range of faculty services.

Professor Morris’s students nominated her to the Faculty Hall of Fame for her classes in cultural anthropology, sociology of marriage and the family, and for her pioneering work in the sociology of childhood. I was honored and blessed to induct her in 2017.

Prior to her arrival at Loyola, Professor Morris was the American Catholic Sociological Society’s general secretary, and general secretary of the National Catholic Council for Interracial Justice, where she played an essential role in the Civil Rights movement. She organized the participation of priests and nuns in the landmark 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march and assisted in the racial integration of parochial schools in Southern states during that period, which brought threats to her life on several occasions. She was also a personal assistant to Sargent Shriver and helped launch the Peace Corps.

Professor Morris was previously a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at Glasgow University, Scotland, followed by her tenure as a senior lecturer in the Sociology Department of Trinity and All Saints College (now Trinity University), in Leeds, Yorkshire.

Professor Morris earned her Ph.D. in sociology from The Catholic University of America, her M.A. in sociology from Loyola University, Chicago, and her B.A. in history from Alverno College in Milwaukee.

Professor Morris was married to retired Adjunct Professor Richard Morris, a longtime instructor in the Philosophy Department. Together, they were members of Alpha Sigma Nu and devoted nearly 50 years of teaching, engagement, and service to the university. As members of the Centennial Society, Cassasa Society, and the LMU Heritage Association, the Morrises’ generous support and philanthropic legacy will ensure that future Lions will thrive for generations. LMU has been, and always will be, their home and their family.

A celebration of Professor Morris’s life will be held at a later date. Please keep Loretta, her husband, Richard, and her family in your prayers.


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.