PULLMAN, Wash.–Gary D. Morgan, principal of Cedar River Elementary School in Maple Valley, was named Washington State University Dad of the Year Saturday at the annual WSU Dad’s Day Breakfast in the Compton Union Building. He was nominated by his daughter Maile, a junior majoring in elementary education.
Other finalists for the award were Ron Carter, Portland, Ore.; W. Frank Hendrix III, Selah; Roger Duprel, Bellevue; and James W. “Buck” Frymier Jr., Gig Harbor.
Morgan earned a bachelor’s degree in social science in 1960 at WSU, where he also completed his teaching credentials in 1961.
In nominating her dad for the WSU award, Maile wrote, “My father is a wonderful, positive role model who exemplifies WSU. He is well respected throughout his community and among his friends and family.”
Morgan is known as being Maple Valley’s most loyal Cougar. For some 10 years, he decorated and entered a “Cougar Wagon” in the community parades, pulling it with a John Deere tractor. During Apple Cup week leading up to the WSU-University of Washington football game each year, he’s been known to play the WSU Fight Song over the intercom system at the Cedar River Elementary School. And when the state began issuing personalized WSU license plates, he was one of the first people in line to purchase plates bearing the familiar WSU crimson Cougar head logo.
His ties with WSU extend to support of the Alumni Association; the Parents Program; men’s and women’s athletics, including the women’s soccer team; and the Department of History.
As an educator, he believes kids and their education come first. He instituted a “Zero Hour” program at Cedar River Elementary School, which now receives funding from the state. The program allows kids to come to school early and stay late to participate in a number of different learning activities.
At the community level, Morgan is a member of the Maple Valley Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Lions, PTA, the Community That Cares and Friends of Youth.