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LVC Graduate Founder of D.C. European Union Simulation Program
01.30.14 |
Ever since developing a fascination with government and politics as a 14-year-old who regularly observed courtroom sessions in his native Lebanon County, Edgar Morgan ’63 knew he wanted to be involved with politics and government. However, even in his wildest dreams, he didn’t expect to visit 111 countries on six continents and establish a collegiate educational consortium that would continue long after he first conceived the idea in 1992 while visiting his daughter, Emily, who was studying abroad in France.

As a student at LVC and member of the College’s Political Science Club, Morgan was introduced to the Intercollegiate Conference on Government by the late Dr. Alex Fehr ’50, professor of history and political science. Morgan, and classmates such as the late Greg Stanson ’63, vice president emeritus of enrollment and student services, joined with students from colleges across Pennsylvania to discuss and analyze current issues affecting the Commonwealth. Besides commuting to LVC and working at the Lebanon YMCA with now lifelong friend, Dr. Tom Carmany ’58 (both are pictured at right), Morgan was also involved with local politics.

After graduating, Morgan briefly attended law school before a bout with mononucleosis confined him to a sick bed for more than two months, which ended that dream. He immediately returned to his other passion—politics—and became involved in the 1964 presidential campaign of Pennsylvania Governor Bill Scranton. The experience was life-altering. It included a trip to the now-famous Republican National Presidential Convention where candidate Nelson Rockefeller was unceremoniously booed. Despite the atmosphere, Morgan was proud of his personal efforts and valued the opportunity, noting, “I was appalled by the crowd’s reaction to Rockefeller but it whet my appetite for politics; it was heady stuff being so intimately involved with such important decisions and processes.”

Morgan soon became a legislative assistant in the Pennsylvania State Senate before moving to California to become a consultant to the assembly minority in the California State Legislature. His political career took him nationwide from serving in roles such as legislative assistant to Rep. William V. Roth Jr. of Delaware, to establishing the first office in Washington, D.C. for a Governor of New Jersey (William T. Cahill).

Next, came various federal and private sector executive positions where he served as vice president of the National Oil Jobbers Council, executive director and director of congressional affairs for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, executive director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and deputy assistant to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 1987, while serving as an independent consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development, Morgan received his first taste of international politics while in Jordan evaluating U.S. foreign aid programs. “I created a form to standardize reporting on how much U.S. money was going to public entities and how much was going to the private sector,” said Morgan. “Like my experience during the 1964 Republican Convention, this international experience created a sense that I should do more.”

Five years later, in 1992, Morgan made the aforementioned life-changing visit to his daughter in France. “I was there when the Maastricht Treaty was signed, which led to the creation of the European Union (EU) and the single European currency, the euro,” noted Morgan. “I returned to Washington, D.C., and began asking ‘What are we doing in the U.S. about what is occurring in Europe? This is a bloc that could greatly benefit the U.S.’”

Morgan returned to the states and began searching for programs educating U.S. students about was occurring in Europe. “I found a professor who was running a simulation project with about a dozen colleges and universities in New York,” he said. “I visited him and was so impressed that I immediately knew the program needed to be replicated in Pennsylvania.”

Then living in Carlisle, Morgan visited with faculty of schools within 75 miles and soon enticed several schools—including Gettysburg, Millersville, and Susquehanna—on board followed soon by Lehigh, Lafayette, Muhlenberg, and others. Together, they established the European American Institute, which introduced students to careers in international trade, business, finance, politics, and diplomacy. This non-profit organization encourages students to study the European Union during the fall semester culminating in a three-day EU simulation.

More than 20 years later and now called the Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation Consortium (MAEUSC), the program endures. LVC joined the MAEUSC in 2008 on the recommendation of Dr. Philip Benesch, associate professor of political science, who had experienced the program while teaching at a previous institution. Dr. Benesch and Dr. Diane Johnson, chair of history and political science and associate professor of political science, take turns teaching the course.

Morgan lost touch with the simulation project in the mid-1990s after beginning a second career with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), which took him around the world to more than 100 countries. IFES supports citizens’ right to participate in free and fair elections and led Morgan to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Pakistan, Liberia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and many other countries.

Today, Morgan resides in Bosnia but has also lived in Croatia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. This fall, he returned as a guest to the EU simulation he founded for the first time in 15 years and was greatly pleased to find that his alma mater is now one of 12 college and university members. “It is nice to know that I played a role in starting something that has a lasting legacy,” said Morgan. “It is equally pleasing to know that students receive the opportunity to experience hands-on learning in a realistic, dynamic atmosphere. The students learn how to deal with other people and view economic and political issues from different perspectives.”

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