The Deborah Morton Awards are presented each year by the trustees of the University of New England to outstanding women who have achieved high distinction in their careers and public service, or whose leadership in civic, cultural or social causes has been exceptional.
The Deborah Morton Award was first presented at the 130th anniversary convocation of Westbrook College in 1961. It was the first annual award in Maine to honor women's achievement.
It was named in memory of Deborah Morton of Round Pond, Maine, valedictorian of the 1879 class of the Westbrook Seminary - the forerunner of Westbrook College, which merged with the University of New England in 1996.
Morton was a teacher, dean, linguist, historian and prominent Portland civic leader whose service to Westbrook College spanned more than 60 years. Since 1961, more than 180 distinguished women have been honored with the award.
The society also actively fundraises to support the Deborah Morton Endowed Scholarship which is awarded annually to a Maine student on the University’s Portland Campus.
The recipients of the Deborah Morton Endowed Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year are UNE nursing students Kelli Sousa of the Class of 2016 and Renee Violette of the Class of 2015.