Professor Rebecca Morgan honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Rebecca C. Morgan with one of her students at the 2019 Commencement ceremony.

Professor Rebecca C. Morgan, who created the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson, received a lifetime achievement award from the Florida Bar Elder Law Section this summer.

“There’s no more deserving person in the elder law world that I’m aware of,” said Steve Hitchcock, the immediate past chair of the Elder Law Section.

The Elder Law Section cultivates and promotes expertise and professionalism in the practice of law affecting people as they age and individuals with special needs. The Section offers multiple awards to members that demonstrate a willingness to serve in the field, and the Section chair for the respective year selects recipients who have made exceptional contributions. 

The Elder Law Section Lifetime Achievement Award is not bestowed every year, but rather reserved for an attorney who has dedicated his or her life to the practice. The award is meant to recognize attorneys of great standing and reputation who exemplify what elder law attorneys do.

Hitchcock, a 2005 Stetson alumnus who completed the Elder Law Certificate of Concentration, said he has Morgan to thank for his current vocation. A second-career law student, when he left pharmacy he wasn’t sure what area of law he planned to direct his practice after graduation. A speaker during his practice management course mentioned elder law, and when he asked what that was, she directed him to Professor Morgan. The rest is history.

Morgan served as his mentor and helped him land his first job. He now has a firm with five attorneys. 

Hitchcock said he was “astonished” to learn that Professor Morgan was not already a Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, adding that to him, she epitomizes an elder law attorney. She stands among some of the select few who have made an indelible impact on the practice of Elder Law from its very beginnings and has helped guide the careers of a great many Elder Law attorneys as a Section member, educator and resource, he explained. 

“It was the obvious choice for me.”

Morgan was once called “the godmother of Elder Law” by former VA Secretary Max Cleland. For more than 30 years, Morgan has been the driving force behind essentially all of Stetson Law’s Elder Law programming, including creating the Center for Excellence in Elder Law, creating both the LL.M. in Elder Law and Master of Jurisprudence in Health Care Compliance, launching the National Conference on Special Needs Planning and Special Needs Trusts, and partnering with Professor Roberta Flowers to oversee the construction of the Eleazer Courtroom – the first courtroom in the nation designed specifically with the needs of elderly people in mind.

Her list of memberships, leadership positions, publications, accomplishments and accolades is long and includes being inducted into the Stetson University College of Law Hall of Fame in 2018.  Through it all she has remained a dedicated advocate for the elderly and steadfast guide for generations of Stetson Law students.

“I am humbled and honored to receive such a significant recognition from the Elder Law Section,” Morgan said.  “It has been my privilege to teach and work with so many fine attorneys in the field of elder law.”