Scholarship trust named for Port Angeles pioneer comes home to Clallam County

PORT ANGELES — A $600,000 scholarship fund benefiting Port Angeles High School students now will be administered locally after its recent transfer to the Olympic View Community Foundation in Sequim.

Bank of America transferred the assets of the D.W. Morse Family Scholarship Trust to the foundation in late March to be held in an endowed fund into perpetuity for scholarship awards to graduates of PAHS.

“We are so pleased to see OVCF administering the D.W. Morse Family Scholarship Fund,” said Mark Ozias, Olympic View Community Foundation president.

“Housing these dollars here in our community helps ensure that Mr. Morse’s original intent — namely, to provide substantial support to Port Angeles-area students who wish to attend college — will be realized, ensuring full impact from his thoughtful generosity,” Ozias continued.

“This news underscores the value that the Olympic View Community Foundation provides us all.”

The transfer comes after Olympic View Community Foundation, Bank of America and the state Attorney General’s Office executed a nonjudicial agreement in Clallam County Superior Court in 2022.

The trust originally was set up to be administered through the Bank of America. Bank officials decided to discontinue their involvement and looked for an appropriate home “to re-nest those assets,” Ozias said.

The agreement terminated the trust and transferred the assets to Olympic View Community Foundation to be held in a permanent endowment fund devoted to upholding the trustor’s intent, providing substantial assistance to a few carefully selected students each year.

“What makes this a little bit different from many other scholarship programs is that … the intent is to provide substantial support for a student,” so rather than making many multiple awards, “the scholarship committee will be looking for a smaller number of awards that will cover a more substantial portion of expenses,” Ozias said.

PAHS Principal Tanner Zahrt said: “On behalf of everyone at Port Angeles High School, we are delighted to work with the Olympic View Community Foundation as our students look ahead to their future endeavors.

“The D.W Morse Family Scholarship Fund was created to provide generous support for a select few highly-qualified students, and we feel honored to have OVCF aid in our students’ pathway to success,” Zahrt said.

“Our community is incredibly grateful for the generosity of the D.W. Morse family, and our students will feel the impact for years to come.”

The scholarship trust was established by Samuel Howard Morse in 1974 and named after his father Davis Watterman Morse, who was born in 1863 when Port Angeles was a village on the beach. Eventually, he took part in every phase of the growth of the city.

In 1884, Morse, then 21, opened up the only mercantile in Port Angeles on the corner of Front and Laurel streets. In 1913, he built the first reinforced concrete building in Clallam County on the site of his old store building at Front and Laurel; this Morse building still stands today.

Morse also built and operated the Morse Dock at the site where the Black Ball Ferry now operates.

Morse Creek is named after D. W. Morse’s father, an immigrant from Nova Scotia who settled in Port Angeles.

The Olympic View Community Foundation can be reached at P.O. Box 3651 Sequim, WA 98382, 360-775-3532 and at www.ov-cf.org.

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