Title

Spirit profile: Josh Morton, '96

Authors

Alyssa Shirek

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-8-2012

Abstract

Spirit profile: Josh Morton, '96

Josh Morton, '96, knows what it means to live and breathe the North Dakota Spirit. When he's not at work as Executive Director of the North Dakota Champions Club, he is giving his time to the Studio One Advisory Council and hosting the UND Sports cable television show. Josh took some time to explain what motivates him to give back to his alma mater.

What are your most memorable moments as a student at UND?

My first day of football practice as a walk-on quarterback in 1992 – maybe the scariest day of my life! I also remember the first time doing a live TV show with Studio One – maybe the second scariest!

What are your most memorable moments as an engaged alum of UND?

Because of my professional role, I get to travel with our athletic teams. The two most memorable games are the men's hockey road win against Wisconsin to get to the 2008 Frozen Four and seeing the football team's first "guarantee" game at Texas Tech. As a former walk-on football player, it was pretty special to see us compete against a Big 12 school and to earn the respect of 50,000 people in the stands.

Also, every year I walk away from the Sioux Awards ceremony proud to be an alum. That is the most inspiring night of the year for both my wife and me.

In your current role as Executive Director of the North Dakota Champions Club, you're exposed to generous contributions to our university's athletic programs daily. How does that inspire you?

It makes me want to show those generous investors the impact their gifts are making, and how it all comes back to the student-athletes. Every September we have our student-athlete/investor social where those who have contributed named scholarships get to meet the student-athlete recipients. It's great to be able to make that connection for both sides, and that inspires us to keep working to grow the number of investors.

Giving to the university doesn't have to mean through financial contributions. Your education and early professional experiences were in broadcast journalism. How are you using those talents and donating your time to give back to UND?

I'm proud to serve on the Studio One Advisory Council, and I also host the weekly "UND Sports" cable television show. We talk to alumni and friends about investing time, talent and treasure, so if there's something I can offer, I'm happy to do it.

Why is it so important to you to ensure alumni and fans are connected to UND athletics?

Private support is absolutely critical to success for UND Athletics. We can point to statistics like how Champions Club donations cover about half of the total UND Athletics scholarships, and how athletics facilities get built because of private contributions, but the key is to get people engaged and keep them engaged. Because of its popularity, athletics is a great way to do that.

What is your motivation to give back?

There's no question that everything I've done in the past 16 years is because of my four years at UND. I talk to people about giving to their passion, and I left UND with a passion for UND football and Studio One. My wife feels the same about the swimming & diving program, so we give what we can. It's not always about the size of the investment – it's really about giving, period. For us, it's about participation, and we plan on increasing the size of our investments in UND as time goes on. We're motivated to give back because we understand the need.

Are you having fun?

There are many days I walk across campus and feel so lucky to be working on behalf of my alma mater and to see my kids growing up around UND Athletics.

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Alyssa Shirek, '06 Associate Director of Marketing alyssas@undalumni.net

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