A 20-year career as the Dalhousie Archivist inspired Michael Moosberger and his wife Julie Morris to create a legacy gift so that the University Archives can continually move forward.

“A university is a living being, always evolving,” says Michael Moosberger, Dalhousie University Archivist. “In a sense, I see my role as the keeper of our history, of our collective memory.”

Since arriving at Dalhousie in 2000, Moosberger’s been doing exactly that. Educated at the University of Windsor and Wayne State University in Detroit, he’s part of the first generation of professionally trained archivists in Canada.

“I like taking on innovative projects that move the archives forward,” says Moosberger, who’s paid particular attention to acquiring faculty papers in research-intensive areas like ocean studies and medicine. “We’ve incredibly talented and brilliant people here at Dal,” says Moosberger. “So, we need to preserve their research and teaching materials for future generations to study.”

And over the past 20 years, Moosbeger’s been able to take many of these initiatives from the idea stage to reality – with the help of legacy gifts left to the Dalhousie Archives. “Annual operating budgets only go so far,” he explains. Proceeds from endowments and other gifts have allowed Moosberger to not only cover project costs, but also leverage additional sources of grant funding. “Whether for digitization, licenses for platforms, new equipment for processing materials or salaries for contract staff and student assistants, these gifts have helped strengthen and provide greater access to our collections.”

That’s why Michael and his wife, Julie Morris, a University of King’s College alumna and archivist, have made plans to leave their own legacy to Dalhousie. “Archivists are trained to take the long view, to look out over the next 30, 40 or 50 years,” says Moosberger. “We wanted to give a gift that – even if modest – will grow over time and live in perpetuity.”

And the result? The Michael Moosberger and Julie Morris Archival Endowment, an unrestricted gift, meaning that future university archivists will be free to use the proceeds as they see fit. “I feel I’ve built something here at Dalhousie,” he adds. “And as my legacy, I’d like to help my successors do what I was able to do.”

“With Michael’s pending retirement, we’re entering a new phase of our life together,” says Morris, who spent 28 years at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia before starting her own records management consultancy, with Dalhousie as one of her clients. “Finding a tangible way to recognize the university that played such a significant role in our lives appealed to us – and this was the ideal time to do it.”

“It’s all about giving back, isn’t it?” adds Moosberger. “Not everyone gets to pursue their passion as a career, and I’m so grateful to Dalhousie for the opportunity to have made a difference here.


Want to learn more? Contact Siobhan Doherty at Siobhan.Doherty@dal.ca or 902.494.6853

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