Origin of Morrison’s Quote1897
“To do what ought to be done, but would not have been done unless I did it, I thought be my duty.”
Today, this guiding principle by Robert Morrison is synonymous with what it means to be a Phi. To the best of the Fraternity’s knowledge, this quote was first shared with Phi Delta Theta by Morrison in an autobiographical sketch in the April 1897 edition of The Scroll.
Leading up to the quote in his autobiography, Brother Morrison discusses his employment in 1850s Kentucky. He shares his decision to leave a thriving group of Presbyterian churches in Louisville to become a preacher in a country church and professor at a ladies’ seminary in Paris, Kentucky.
“I gave up all of these desirable fields, as they could get almost anyone they wanted, while the little church in the country to which I went, could get no one else that they would have. To do what ought to be done, but would have not be done unless I did it, I thought to be my duty.”