WATCH: HU Opening Convocation

WASHINGTON – Laurence C. Morse, Ph.D., alumnus and chair of the Howard University Board of Trustees, will deliver the keynote address during the 153rd Opening Convocation on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. As part of changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s festivities will broadcast  at 11 a.m. ET on WHUR 96.3 FM and rebroadcast on Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. ET on WHUT-TV. During the ceremony, Chairman Morse will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Achievement.

“We are pleased to have Chairman Morse serve as the Opening Convocation speaker as we kick off the new school year,” says President Wayne A. I. Frederick.  “It is both a privilege and an honor to have Dr. Morse deliver this inspirational message at such a significant time in our University’s history. As a fellow alumnus and supporter of the Hilltop, I know he will challenge our students with a message filled with personal experience and wisdom.”

Opening Convocation is a time-honored tradition that officially signals the beginning of the academic year. The address will welcome the Class of 2024 and acknowledge recent achievements of the University during the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Chairman Morse is a co-founder and managing partner at Fairview Capital Partners, a private equity investment management firm. He has said that it would be difficult to imagine the arc of his professional career without the benefit and foundation he received as a Howard undergraduate.

Prior to co-founding Fairview, he held positions with TSG Ventures, Equico Capital Corporation and UNC Ventures. He serves on the advisory boards of a number of venture capital partnerships, including U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), Battery Ventures, Sierra Ventures and Trinity Ventures. Trustee Morse is a member of the board of directors of Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE: WBS) and the board of trustees of Harris Associates Investment Trust (the Oakmark Mutual Funds). He is a former member of the board of trustees of Princeton University, and served three terms on the board of the Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO).

Chairman Morse was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2014 and most recently served as a vice chair of the University’s Board from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. During his tenure, he has served as chair of the Development and Alumni Relations Committee, vice chair of several committees, including Audit and Legal, Compensation and Succession and Executive as well as co-chair of the Howard University Hospital/Adventist Ad Hoc Committee. He also served as a member of the Finance and Student Life committees.

Chairman Morse graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University, having spent his junior year at The London School of Economics and Political Science as a Luard Scholar. He earned a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.