Deborah Morrison

2024 Educators Hall of Fame Inductee

Distinguished Professor of Advertising, University of Oregon

Deb is an award-winning creative educator instrumental in launching thousands of advertising careers over the last few decades from the University of Oregon and the University of Texas at Austin, both public universities. With her colleagues at Oregon, she launched the role of the “Creative Strategist” and co-founded Science & Memory, an experiential learned program recognized as a Fast Company World-Changing Idea.

photo credit: Henry Amman
photo credit: Henry Amman


Deborah Morrison stands as a prominent figure in the advertising and communication field, with a multifaceted career that encompasses education, industry innovation, and advocacy for addressing the climate emergency. She is currently the School of Journalism and Communication’s Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs at the University of Oregon. As an educator, Morrison has been acknowledged as an inspirational force shaping creative minds. Her groundbreaking programs, such as the introduction of the role of “Creative Strategist,” parallel the transformative impact of Bill Bernbach’s invention of the Art Director/Copywriter team.

After receiving her PhD from the University of Texas in 1988, Morrison was hired as Assistant Professor there. She would spend the next 15 years shaping a first-of-its-kind professional-grade undergrad creative development program at a public university: Texas Creative. In 2005, Morrison joined the University of Oregon as a Visiting Professor. In her new role, she built a comparable creative program at the School of Journalism and Communication and was hired full time as the Chambers Distinguished Professor and Director of Advertising within a year. Since then, she and her colleagues built the most successful creative program in the history of the SOJC.

Her commitment to beautiful craft, compelling stories, and useful scholarship is evident in her numerous publications. Morrison is the co-author of “The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising’s Big Ideas are Born” (2010) and “Idea Industry: How to Crack the Advertising Career Code” (2009), the latter co-written with Brett Robbs. Her upcoming book, “Brave Work on the Age of Climate Change: A Creative’s Guide to Advertising and Brand Messages in Complicated Times,” scheduled for release in 2024, reflects her dedication to addressing complex social and cultural issues through creative solutions.

Morrison’s impact extends beyond the classroom. She co-founded Science & Memory, an experiential learning platform at the University of Oregon, which explores stories of change related to environmental and climate issues. This project, recognized with the University of Oregon Innovation and Impact Award in 2015, short-listed for the One Show film festival in 2016, and by Fast Company as a “World Changing Idea,” showcases her commitment to bridging science communication, reporting, and creative projects to engage audiences for climate action.

Morrison co-established the SOJC Master’s in Advertising and Brand Responsibility (MABR) program at the University of Oregon, a testament to her vision of developing advertising talent equipped to address social issues authentically and courageously. As the former director of the SOJC advertising program from 2006-2021, Morrison earned accolades including the Grandmaster Award from The Art Director’s Club of New York in 2010, 2018 American Advertising Academy Sandage Award for Distinguished Teaching and the 2015 AEJMC Distinguished Teaching Award.

Morrison’s influence extends globally, as evidenced by her speaking engagements in Sweden, Ghana, New York, the United Nations, and SXSW. Her recognition of the advertising industry’s responsibility to address climate issues led her to complete the Climate Reality Leadership Training directed by former Vice-President Al Gore. Among her many credentials and contributions, Morrison sits on the Board of Advisors for Planet Word, an innovative museum of language in Washington, D.C.

Deborah Morrison’s illustrious career, from inventing programs at the University of Texas to innovating at the University of Oregon, showcases her dedication to shaping individuals who not only reshape the industry but also contribute to societal change. Her induction into The One Club for Creativity’s Educators Hall of Fame sets a precedent for recognizing public university educators, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and access to the creative industry for all students.