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Pictured are Kay and Morton Briggs. Briggs, professor emeritus of romance languages and literatures, died Sept. 25. He worked at Wesleyan for 42 years.
Posted 10.01.05

Professor Emeritus Morton Briggs Dies at Age 90

Morton W. Briggs, a Wesleyan faculty member for over 40 years, died Sept. 25 at Middlesex Health Care Center at the age of 90.

Born in 1915 in Millbrook, N.Y., he was graduated from Cornell University in 1937. He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and obtained master’s (1939) and doctoral (1944) degrees from Harvard University.

He joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1943 and attained the position of professor of romance languages in 1956 with a specialty in French language and literature.  He held this position until his retirement in 1985 at which time he became professor emeritus.  He was twice director of the university’s program in Paris and just this spring was honored by a former student with the creation of the Morton W. and Kathryn I. Briggs Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship.

Morton served Wesleyan in numerous ways during his long and distinguished career, including chairman of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, director of the Honors College for two decades (1966-85), chairman of the Educational Studies Program (1973-1985), acting director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program and he was Wesleyan’s delegate to Phi Beta Kappa’s governing body, the Triennial Council, for many years. He was executive secretary of the University, secretary of the faculty, and secretary of the Academic Council.

Morton was a proud of the Middletown community and served it well. He was active in the Middlesex County United Way (board of directors, campaign chairman 1965, president 1967), the Middlesex Chapter of the American Red Cross (board of directors and chairman 1966-68), the Middletown Rotary Club (board of directors and treasurer) and The Church of the Holy Trinity.

His statewide activities included chairmanship from 1963–72 of the Foreign Language Advisory Committee for the state Department of Education.  He was also a member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Council of Language Teachers.

Morton is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Kathryn (Kay) of Middletown; their children, Christopher of Marlborough, N.H.; Kirk of Vineyard Haven, Mass.; and Kate Holmes of Grand Junction, Colo.; five grandchildren; one sister, Elinor Sutherland of Millbrook, N.Y., and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8,  11 a.m., at Holy Trinity Church in Middletown.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Red Cross hurricane relief funds.