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Honoring the Life of Charley Morris

The following article covers the passing of OWU student Charley Morris. The Transcript felt it was necessary to cover the tragedy, however wanted to avoid sensationalizing the situation. As such, the article is brief, and includes information on how to assist the family, as well as resources for those struggling with grief.


On Tuesday, March 21, the OWU community received an email from President Jones informing them that sophomore Charley Morris, and his father Charles Morris, were presumed to have passed away as a result of a kayaking accident during spring break.


Charley was a well-loved member of the Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams at OWU, where he was very successful, lettering in track his freshman year, and accumulating placing spots in many middle distance events.


Aside from his talent as a runner, Charley was also a Bishop Scholar tutor for local elementary schools, and a member of OWU’s chamber orchestra. Charley’s commitment to building community through showing care for those around him, whether it be his teammates, musical collaborators, students, or peers in other ways, will be remembered for years to come.


In the days before the news, the two were reported as missing. To offer solidarity and hope to the OWU community, the Chaplain’s Office held a candlelight vigil on the steps of Beeghly Library on March 20. At the event, Chaplain Chad Johns offered condolences and prayer, and members of the Track and Field team spoke about the impact Charley had on creating a sense of family, and making everyone feel valued and comfortable on the team.


There was also an opportunity for students to gather and support one another on the evening of March 21 in Hamilton-WIlliams Campus Center.


The OWU Track and Field Team will be honoring Charley and Charles at their home meet on April 8. The Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity will also be holding their philanthropy event at the meet, which will include a table where people may pay their respects, as well as donate to the Morris family to assist in funeral expenses, and in offering support. Aside from this tabling event, those looking to support the Morris family can do so through this link.


The Chaplain’s Office and the Morris/Thompson family will also be holding a Celebration of Life for Charley on April 11 at 7 p.m. in Gray Chapel, with a light reception in the Benes Rooms to follow. There will be an opportunity for those that knew Charley to share their stories in a communal book at the event. The Chaplain’s office is also compiling photos for a slideshow, and anyone who would like to submit photos of Charley may do so by sharing them with Chaplain Chad Johns (cejohns@owu.edu) by April 6.


In times of loss, it is important to lean on one another in our communities for support. We must allow ourselves to grieve and validate our own emotions, while using them to motivate our care for others.


OWU provides a variety of resources as well, including the Virtual Care Program, which provides free 24/7 crisis counseling, which can be found by calling 1-855-522-1226. Additionally, both the Virtual Care Program and Counseling Services Office will provide free counseling appointments to any student on campus. To access this service, students should call the Counseling Services Offices at 740-368-3145 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to schedule a primary phone screening appointment.


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